Thursday, November 6, 2014

Remember, remember the 5th of November

A Day in the Life: Wednesday, 5 November 2014. 

*obvious disclaimer: when you have two small children, no two days are the same. Some days are less social; some days are more social. I also didn't record exciting things like diaper changes for E and toilet sessions with L. You're welcome. Also, this post is really long. Mostly so I can remember what our days were like in Autumn 2014 someday.

6:00am: Thomas' alarm starts going off. He snoozes for what feels like hours but is probably about 30 minutes. I burrow deeper into the down comforter since my current morning philosophy is to get up when the kids do. I should probably change this.

7:30am: For the second time in his 14.5 months of life, Elliott has slept through the night! This is obviously thrilling. He is cutting two bottom teeth (#7 and 8, so how and when he sleeps is anybody's guess). Both kids wake up in pretty good moods. Lillian immediately demands a dress and tights. I'm still not used to her WANTING to wear clothes so this request throws me for a loop. But I happily dress her, and we join T and E downstairs. E is, of course, bolting down some breakfast cereal.

7:45: L starts her morning hour of television, three Netflix episodes of "Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs." While she does this, I feed her cereal and braid her hair. T and I are able to unload the dishwasher, tidy up the kitchen, drink coffee and discuss such varied topics as the Republican landslide in the US elections, the fact that it's Bonfire night, and what's on tap for both of us today, all while supervising E who wants to eat L's cereal, climb on ALL THE FURNITURE, pull our coffees off the table, etc. I text my friend Steph, who has invited us over for a coffee this morning, to tell her that E won't be napping this morning and we will head over around 9:30/10.

8:45: T heads out the door for his morning run to work, taking trash to the bin in the alley in the process (boy do we miss our backyard trashcan and boy am I thankful that T takes responsibility for this!). L is in mourning that the TV is off and Daddy is leaving, and I drag two slightly unhappy kids upstairs so I can get dressed. The forecast is in the 40s F, so I dress warmly. The kids partially destroy the upstairs playing some sort of chase and tackle game while I put on make-up and get myself and E dressed. E has a hard fall at some point (despite 90887987 reminds to be gentle, L has a hard time remembering to do this...) and I hold him for a while.

9:30: After throwing together a lunch/packing diapers/putting L's backpack for school together/fighting both kids into jackets, we head out. It is cold, clear and sunny. Hooray! We head for the lift, but in the process run into our "less than friendly" next-door neighbor who informs us that the lift is broken, while basically accusing us of breaking it. Not the case, but we press on and head down an alternate route. Our flat looks onto a car park and sits over a grocery store , so we head down and manage to make it all the way to the road without getting hit by any cars. #winning I am flustered at this point but nothing to do but keep moving forward! We spot our bus at a traffic light and run for the stop so we don't miss it. The kids are awesome bus riders today. L and I discuss things we see out the window and E hangs out in the stroller, munching on an apple and charming strangers. Not all bus rides are this smooth so I'm grateful for all the ones that are!

10:00: We get off the bus in an area of Glasgow called Anniesland, which is very near to where we live in the West End, so the bus ride wasn't all that long. We've never been to Steph's before, so I am clutching my phone with Google maps open as we navigate the 3/4 mile walk. Fortunately the weather continues to be beautiful and the kids are pleasant company.

10:20ish: We make it to Steph's (or, as L calls it, Baby Jessie's house)! I feel sweaty, victorious and grateful to have successfully made it. We spend several enjoyable hours visiting with Steph and her sweet baby girl who is 5 months younger than E, and another friend, Karen, whose younger son Lachlan is exactly L's age. We discuss things like Thanksgiving, Karen's brother's upcoming visit from Australia, how the "L's" are liking nursery, Steph's arrangements for Jessie when she returns to work in January, Christmas parties, our church, E's sweet dance moves, etc. I am so happy to have gotten to know these women through church, and am grateful that they are putting up with a particularly ornery L today. E sticks his fingers in two cups of tea and pulls a brownie off the kitchen table. Classic.

12:00: After Karen and Lachlan roll out so they can get to his school on time, I realize that L needs to be at school in about 45 minutes so and start rushing the kids into coats, getting out lunch to eat on the go, etc. Steph is very helpful and we manage to get out the door quickly. She generously lends me 1.95 since buses don't make change and I completely forgot about grabbing coins for our return journey. doh! We head for a different (and much closer!) bus stop that I noticed on the way.
Repost from IG, waiting for the bus and singing "Let It Go" loudly

12:26: The #19 bus inexplicably never arrived, but the 4 does, and only 3 minutes late! I have noticed a 4 stop very close to L's school and I am hopeful that this bus is headed there. Mostly the buses are predictable and easy to navigate, but every once in a while...E falls asleep in the stroller about two minutes into the drive, no doubt exhausted since he didn't get a morning nap. L and I sit a few rows back and she tells the old man behind us all about going to baby Jessie's house this morning. Then she eats a little of the peanut butter sandwich I made her and lots of raisins. Plus, milk OF COURSE, given the predilections of our dairy fiend. We pass through an area of Glasgow I haven't been in before (Kelvindale and Cleveden, for anyone who cares) and then turn onto Hyndland road. I start paying attention since we are nearing our destination and it takes some tricky maneuvering to get all of us and our stuff off the bus.

12:48: The bus stops directly across from L's school and I mentally high five myself and thank God that it worked out as smoothly as it did. We walk to her school and we are actually a few minutes early! E wakes up so I let him out of the stroller to walk around. He loves to watch the big, NOISY kids at the primary school that adjoins the nursery.
Selfie before school 
An essential component of any Scottish school: the Wellie station

Repost from IG, but I love how he is watching the big boys.

12:55 L is successfully dropped off. There is a new little boy in her group from Greece who is not screaming his head off at dropoff today. Progress! I walk out with my friend Ruth who was dropping her son off and has also headed out with her younger child. We often walk together and have really enjoyed getting to know them. We part ways on Byres Road since she is headed to Kelvingrove Park and I am going the other way to pick up T's anniversary present.

1:05: Somehow I wrestle the stroller into the hardware shop and pick up the present, a plaque with our flat number and name. It looks great and I text him to let him know we can finally exchange gifts. Then E and I hoof it all the way to the top of Byres Road to where we stay (side note: this is one "Britishism" that I cannot get used to, saying "stay" instead of "live.") E munches on peanut butter sandwich and waves to people as we walk in the cold sunshine.

1:25: The lift is fixed, hooray! We make it home and I let E down to play. Given his bus nap, I have no idea what to expect for his afternoon sleep. After a few minutes, though, it seems clear that he is exhausted and just wants to sleep.

1:35: E is down for the count after one round of "Jesus Loves Me," all snuggly under a soft, warm blanket. He is the sweetest and I am super psyched about some time to myself!

1:45: I consider sauteeing spinach for some extra vitamin C like I did yesterday but deem it to be too much effort today. I warm up some leftover pesto pasta, cut up a pear, and boil water for coffee in my favorite appliance, the electric kettle. I check Facebook while I eat and Instagram a few pictures from the morning. Deleting FB from my phone has cut down on my idle browsing quite a bit, so sitting down at the computer feels like a treat.

2:00: I grab a few minutes to read my Bible and journal. Given E's unpredictable sleep schedule, my time to myself this week has been very limited so this is especially nice. I have some parenting concerns with L so it is nice to pray about them rather than just fret and stew.

2:30: This is the easiest time of day for me to start dinner, so I put the BBC Pride and Prejudice on the TV and start cooking lentils. For once, I actually meal planned so I know exactly what to do. I make lentils and cook some basmati rice. I also work on some laundry and the various little things around the house that always need doing. It's wonderful to do this sans children.

3:20: I start gathering up some food for E to snack on since we need to leave in 10 minutes for school. I hate waking him up, but obviously I can't leave him alone. He was sleeping really hard, so it takes a few minutes of watching the horses on P&P (seriously, there are tons!) to really wake him up.
Pitiful. Come on, teeth!

3:35: We get out the door and start our 0 .6mile walk to school. Ruth and Eleanor (2) meet up with us immediately (they live around the corner) and E and E spend the walk messing with each other. Pretty cute. We discuss her uni class, living in the city, kid antics, what it means that a health visitor is coming to my house, etc. She's one of my go-to people for asking about Scottish things.

3:50: The school receptionist buzzes us in. I find L in the normal classroom and spend a couple of minutes watching her singing and dancing. They are playing a game, something about sleeping rabbits and jumping rabbits, two of L's favorite things. She is having tons of fun but is happy to see E and me.
School hallway--old bricks from the original 19th c. bldg on left, new walls on the right.

The "rabbits" are on their way to jumping
.3:55: Lillian and Finley, Ruth's son, are absolutely wired and spend most of the 15 minute walk home running crazily. We cross four side streets without cross walks and one more major road with a crosswalk. Streets without designated pedestrian areas are tricky things, since cars mostly seem to not car if they hit you or not. At one point, I have to pull out my scary mom voice when L almost runs into the road where a car is turning. Eeek. She cries; I reassure; we keep moving. The four kids nom on some chocolate biscuits I brought before we part ways at our gate.

Incredible clouds on the way home
4:15ish: We are home, just before sunset. L immediately strips off her coat and pants, fusses when I tell her she has to wear pants or ladybug slippers. I am, without a doubt, the meanest mom. She puts her pants back on rather than wearing the odious ladybug slippers she picked out a few weeks ago. Stinker. E is delighted to be out of the stroller and runs off to his favorite climbing perch.

4:30: L gets to unwind from school with an hour of TV (Team UmiZoomi on Netflix today) and her favorite treat, a hollipop (a word of her own creation that indicates popsicle or lollipop depending on the context). Despite the fact that it's 40 degrees F outside, she and E both want the frozen variety. I help them since this is almost always a messy endeavor. While she is occupied with this strange yet educational show, I try to entertain E and finish cooking dinner. Tonight it's easy--ginger, lime and chili chicken breasts from Waitrose, the grocery store below us--plus rice and lentil salad. I toss the already cooked lentils with lemon and olive oil and add a little salt. Not exactly Food Network material, but it's pretty darn tasty. I flip the hot water switch on the water heater upstairs so that we'll have hot water for bath time later.
Entertaining himself by pulling a chair over to the big table and playing with something illicit. 

5:30: Now comes the weirdest part of the day: the kids are bored and starving, but I try to hold them off another half hour til T comes home at 6. Some days this is more successful than others...At 5:45 I cave and put E in his high chair, where he proceeds to throw everything I make or bring him onto the floor. Frustrating. But in a strange role reversal, L makes up for his lack of eating by chowing down on six fish fingers (we call them chicken sticks, ha), rice and sliced pear.

5:58: T walks in the door and the angels break into song. At least in my head they do. The kids take turn dancing and jumping with him while I get plates of food ready for the two of us. Then one of two things happens: Option A: the kids play quietly and nicely together in the play area while we share a meaningful conversation about our days and enjoy our food. Option B: we shovel dinner down while holding and entertaining various combinations of children and sortof hold together a thread of conversation about the happenings of the day. I'll let you decide which one is correct. ;)

6:25: We head up for bath time. The kids enjoy a few minutes of running around buck naked playing chase and giggling uproariously while we run bath water. They love playing in the bath together and T skillfully bathes them as they do so. I gather up milk cups, jammies and E's pacis (at least 3 go into his crib since he prefers to snuggle with those instead of the nice plush toys also in there...). I turn on so many sound machines that it sounds like we're living in a waterfall. I give E some paracetemol for his teeth and he gulps it gratefully.

6:45: T grabs E and I get L out of the bath and we dress them. Then it's a sweet but harried story time with the Jesus Storybook Bible and the Goodnight Gecko, a recent purchase in Hawaii. Thomas and I share what we are thankful for from the day and prompt L to do the same. It has taken several months, but she is finally responding to this in a non-obnoxious way. Baby steps! Then we pray as a family and do goodnight kisses. Thomas takes E to his room next door, sings to him and lays him down for the night. I sing with L and answer questions like "how will All-The-Christmas (Father Christmas) come into our house" and "can I have a hollipop in the morning." She eventually settles and is asleep before I finish my second rendition of Amazing Grace.  (always twice through the six verses I know).

7:05: T and I discuss what to do with our evening. I noticed earlier that our power was low--we pay as we go by topping-up at a paypoint down the street--so we agree that he will run out to do that and pick up a few groceries while I take a shower. We clean up first. The unfortunate side effect of delicious meals is that they usually entail lots of dishes, and the unfortunate side effect of small children is that they spend their days making huge messes. The nice thing about a small space is that it doesn't take long to clean up.

8:15: Everything is tidy and clean, including me, and T has returned from Tesco. We work out some logistics for our trip to Arran this weekend before settling in for tea and Doctor Who, which we are behind on from our trip to the States. I love hanging out with T and tonight is no exception.

10:30: Lights out! A not-so-great night of cold-induced insomnia and wakeful children is ahead, but at least I don't know that at the time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stateside Holiday, Fall 2014

Sometimes when I haven't blogged in a while, it is intimidating to jump back in, especially when I have some big posts planned.
BUT, for now, I will ease back in with a post about our trip sans pictures. I should have some pics soon.

We just returned yesterday from an Epic Holiday in the States. Our trip had four parts:
1. We took the train to London and spent four days there(T worked for 1.5 of them). Highlights included the London Zoo; the Princess Di Memorial Playground in Hyde Park; the Tower of London; some epic tube rides; walking across the Tower Bridge; playing next to the Thames at dusk one night; and meeting up with my former roommate Emily. We then flew to Charleston from London (3 flights).
2. We spent four days at my parents' house in Charleston. Highlights included playing in their freezing cold pool; being reunited with our dog who was mostly glad to see us; lots of playtime with Mimi and Papa; attending church and community group; snacks and yummy meals provided by my mom; some nice reading time in the sun while L hung out with my mom and E napped; and lots of general relaxation.
3. Then we headed over to the beach house my in-laws so kindly rented at Isle of Palms and spent four days with them and the cousins. Highlights included lots of happy cousin play time in the house, at the beach and at the playground; a cookout hosted by Ron and Ellen for our friends and family; eating at Chick-fil-A; spending part of the day at Boone Hall's pumpkin patch--especially loved the hayride--with lots of fun people. Then we boarded a sequence of flights starting at 6AM and headed for a different beach.
4. After a long, long day of travelling, we made it to Maui, where we got to spend a fabulous week soaking up the sun (and boy was it HOT). We celebrated Hillary and John's marriage with party after party; played with baby Haylee who gets sweeter all the time; lived in a family compound of sorts; took daily trips to the beach and pool; ate several delicious lunches at Tommy Bahamas; gnoshed on fish tacos, shave ice and tropical drinks; had a wonderful date of sushi, iced coffee and a Safeway trip with my love; took a slightly treacherous waterfall hike with H and H on the road to Hana; had a luxurious pedicure with Hillary (thanks mom!); enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family who had come to celebrate the Sandbachs.
Then came three very long flights home but God gave us blessing after blessing and it really wasn't that bad! The kids slept a lot and rolled with a very long day of travelling beautifully (we left Sunday night and arrived Tuesday morning!).
Now we are battling jet lag--an 11 hour time difference will do that! We are excited to be home in Glasgow and are cherishing the fun memories and times with family and friends while we settle back into our routine here. We love Scotland and are happy to be back, and I am giddy at the thought that I no longer have to worry about all the traveling that trip entailed.

(In case this post was a little too "bubbles and sunshine," here were some of the less fun realities of the trip: time changes and lost sleep, especially for E; loooong plane flights; trying to explain to L who we were seeing vs. not seeing on any given part of the trip; more sleep challenges; and  PACKING 11 gazillion times)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Six on Thursday (an alliterative fail but possibly an interesting post)

I only have a few minutes to blog, so today is brought to you by the land of the weird and random, aka my brain.
Don't worry, though, I will be returning to blog about Lillian's 3rd birthday and our trips to Edinburgh and Aveimore SOON. Or soon-ish. Ahem.

1. Elliott is having a love affair with apples right now. Two days ago he consumed three of them right down to the core. He is cutting a few teeth right now, so we're guessing that they feel good on his gums. And yes, the diapers are super amazing.

2. Voting day on the Scottish independence referendum is fast approaching. One week from today, the country will vote on whether it will stay in the UNITED Kingdom or whether it will step out on its own. Polls show about a 50-50 split currently, which is obviously much closer than anyone in Westminster thought it would be since they are now offering concessions and other inducements to keep the UK together. It's an absolutely fascinating time to be here. The whole country is littered with "Yes" or "No, thanks" signs, buttons, banners, bags, etc. I have asked a wide variety of people--taxi drivers, bus drivers, GPs, teachers, people whose families have been in Scotland for centuries and first generation immigrants-- how they are voting, with very mixed results. Given the far-ranging military, political and economic effects, I'm not sure it's a good idea, but I can't help but admire their national pride in even contemplating such a move.

3. Lillian is in her second week at nursery school and is loving it so far. The system is very different than American preschool but it seems to be a good fit. All the schooling is free (other than 26p for snack every week, ha!) which is awesome! She has the option to attend school during any of the afternoon sessions, which run from 1-4 pm every day. The flexibility is nice, and at this point, I'm going to shoot for three sessions per week, probably Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday since we have activities at church on Friday mornings and Monday is a nice recovery day. The school is small at this point, but will fill up some during the year as more kids turn three and are allowed to come. It feels like a cross between daycare and preschool since I think the balance of "playing" vs "structured learning activities" is definitely tipped towards playing. I'm thrilled for her to get some social interaction and I'm sure she'll learn a thing or two. I also love having time with just Elliott and time by myself when he naps. It's a win for all of us, and I'm so thankful that God provided us with a spot for her. My drive to PCA last year was 15 minutes, which is also how long it takes me to walk to Elie Street Nursery. It's 0.6 miles each way, so with two round trips every time she goes, I'm definitely getting my exercise.

4. After realizing that I fed L two giant popsicles yesterday by accident, I woke up this morning and decided that we are going to work on the quality of our food intake. Eating fruit is probably our strong suit diet-wise, but I'm going to cut down on snacking, bread products and refined sugar, and try to up our veggie and "whole foods" intake. So far we have made it through one meal and 9787987 snack requests this morning from L, and meal #2 is currently cooking away in the oven and crockpot.

5. The weather this week has been unreal. I am wearing shorts again today (TWO DAYS IN A ROW) after a month plus of not wearing them. It is sunny and dry and about 70 degrees F. Everyone keeps talking about how unusual this is in September. Whatever. We'll take it.

6. 9/11 is a strange day not to be in the US, particularly since all the papers here are chock-full of independence stuff and oh-my-gosh-Kate-and-Will-are-pregnant-again. (T is v. excited about this since it means he'll get a national holiday next year when the wee babe is born). Even so, I am remembering that day and treasuring my country from afar.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Stirling Castle, 26 July 2014

To celebrate one month of living in Scotland as well as my Mom's arrival into town, we decided to take a day trip to Stirling Castle. An easy 25-minute train trip from Glasgow (and Edinburgh), Stirling Castle is definitely a must see. It has been beautifully maintained and restored; is easily navigable by kids/strollers; and has incredible views. (Getting up to the castle with a stroller is less easy...narrow, cobbled streets+ bumpy sidewalks+GIANT HILL= treacherous). This particular Saturday was probably the worst weather we've had to date; it poured rain about 90% of the time we were there but c'est la vie in Scotland!
We definitely did not see all of Stirling but I think we hit the touristy highlights: Old Town, Castle, Old Town Cemetery, Church of the Holy Rude, and Cowane's Hospital (which, inexplicably, is a coffee shop and not a hospital of any sort). We might have hung around longer, but as previously mentioned, it was rainy and we ran out of obvious things to do, so we hightailed it back to Glasgow.

Very castle-y. I can definitely see why this was a favorite residence of the Scottish monarchs.

Cannons over the cemetery

The good news about the rain was that it made for awesome cloud shots

Inside the main living quarters of the castle, restored in 17th c. style

This was one of our first experiences trying to explain where we were to Lillian and it was pretty much a wash. She's clever, but so far politics and history are pretty much lost on her. Expounding upon important historical events, let alone wars, to a two-year old is pretty much impossible, so we stuck with: "Look! It's a castle! Maybe Anna and Elsa are inside!" and "Look! Cannonballs!"
The castle restaurant was pretty tasty and had lots of space for crawling and playing (win for everyone)

Very cool interactive part of Stirling--figuring out where different plant dyes to make paints come from

We spent most of the morning in the castle and headed back down ye olde treacherous hill after eating lunch. On a whim we stopped in the Old Town Cemetery, which if you enjoy cemeteries like I do, was totally awesome. Oldest graves dated to around the 17th century, and there was a fantastically over the top Victorian section.
Playing shopkeeper in the graveyard. Inappropriate? Perhaps. 

Makes you think, right?

Couldn't resist an artsy B&W shot

It was raining harder after the cemetery,  so we ducked into the Church of the Holy Rude, which was an excellent choice. The church dates to the 12th century and is one of only three churches in Britain that has been a coronation site.

Dark picture, but the Bible was open to Psalm 86: "There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours."

After leaving the church, we were sortof scrambling. It was raining; the kids were whining; and it didn't feel like time to leave just yet. Across the lane was a sign for Cowane's Hospital, which turned out to be an old fashioned meeting house cum-coffee shop that was absolutely perfect for our needs. (sidenote: God has provided me "refuges" like this so many times in the last few months) The kids enjoyed being free; the adults enjoyed hot beverages; and everyone enjoyed being dry.
We were so happy to have Mimi with us!
After heading back through Old Town, we quickly figured out that the fun part of the day had passed and decided to return to Glasgow.

(A quick note about train travel: so far, so good! Typically for day trips we will buy tickets in advance online while using our "Two Together" pass, which gets us 1/3 off ticket prices. Sometimes we'll buy a round trip, and sometimes single trips. We never have to book specific times for local trips, which is really nice for maximizing flexibility with the kids.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

EWG is 1!

Elliott William Grooms, age 1. 18 Aug 2014
Boy loves his pacis. Stirling Castle, 26 July 

On his birthday in the Botanic Garden, one of his favorite spots

Beach/sand lover. Millport, 23 Aug. 

Common descriptions of Elliott: laid-back, content, gorgeous, charming, clever, happy, lovely

In general, he is a delight to all--smiling and waving to the old ladies that populate the buses we ride; playing with other wee ones at the parks we frequent; engaging with the grandparents on FaceTime; and generally livening up our household with his sweet smile, laughs and wobbly steps. He loves to clap and dance (bless his little white boy heart) and move around. He loves to snuggle and be held; to receive kisses and zoobers, especially from big sister, and generally is very affectionate. He is a laid back and contented little guy and I could not be more grateful for this quality. I credit some of this as his personality, and some to the fact that we are more laid back this time around.
He absolutely loves to read books (FINALLY, A CHILD I CAN READ WITH) and often crawls into our laps with a board book clutched in his chubby little hand. Melt my heart. This has also encouraged L to read more, which obviously delights me. He is trying hard to walk, and I think will be fully independent at this soon. He is excellent at crawling and standing and quite proficient at getting where he needs to go or obtaining what he desires. He attempts to pilfer L's breakfast pretty much every morning.
This is not to say that Elliott is a perfect baby! He routinely wakes up around 6:00 am and he has not slept through the night EVER. Not once. However, I do love the middle of the night cuddles and at this point, we are (mostly) down to one waking. Sometimes I'm less cheerful about this lifetime habit of his, but for the most part, I'm just grateful that he is a good napper.
 And living in a city  without a car, with a mobile-yet-not-walking baby, is challenging and dirty, to say the least. Sometimes I just close my eyes and actively choose not to think about the germs.
He is mostly weaned and I suspect will be fully weaned within the next couple of weeks. We had a good run, and I am grateful that he is such a good eater. One of his nicknames/hashtags is "Elliott Give Me All the Food" Grooms, and eating is definitely a favorite past time of his.
It is amazing to me to think about how different his life is than Lillian's was at one. He has ridden in countless elevators, subways, buses and trains. He has been in multiple countries. He is surrounded by other languages and accents that are different from ours. It does make me sad that he won't know his grandparents, aunts and uncles and our community group and other friends like Lillian did during this year, though knowing that this isn't a permanent move makes this knowledge easier. We hope and pray for both of our kids that this experience will have a positive impact on the course of their lives, though it is also strange to know that E won't remember one bit of our Scottish adventure.
All that to say, E is the kind of baby who makes us want to have 10 more (or maybe 2), and we can't wait to see how our little man grows and changes this year and always.

Happy first birthday, Elliott. You are a gift to us and so many others already, and we love you to pieces.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Something I'm learning

I am working on other captivating travelling posts, a pithy first birthday post, etc., but this is what I was thinking about tonight.

We are rapidly approaching the two month mark in Scotland, and in certain ways, I can see how the next year (or longer) is going to fly by. Our little family is busy doing all the normal things, plus trying to see our new city and country. Most moments are fun. Most of the time it's unbelievable to see my almost three year old grow exponentially as a direct result of where we are, and to see my husband blossom in a new position.
There are hard moments though, and if I had to put a label on them (which I'm about to!), I'd say they are all elements of one large problem:

I love control.
I love to be in control; I love to know exactly what's going on and where I fit; I love to know what's coming next; I love to always have a Plan B if things don't go right. You get the idea.

Oh, and times this by one million with kids.

(And this isn't to say that I'm a total stick in the mud, or that I don't like adventure. Because I do. As long as it's planned out. HA. Also, having a plan isn't always bad. And control--in moderation--is important. But that's not the point of this post)

Anyways, I've learned after leaving my comfortable home, my friends and family, my car, and other material blessings, that I like control a little too much and that I "balk" (okay, sometimes rage and cry) at having it stripped away. Here are a few situations that have driven this lesson home:

-Walking into our new home and discovering that we had no idea how to turn the power on, nor any instruction manual or guidelines to help. (Thanks to the friendly policemen who helped us figure this out.)
-Knowing that we needed a key for the "bin room in the lane" for large rubbish bags but a)didn't know where the lane was and b) didn't know how to acquire a key. (Thankful for a kind neighbor who allowed me to copy hers.)
-Having three different neighbors come tell us that our pram was causing problems in the building and essentially that everyone disliked us for having one (Same kind neighbor helped me figure out the door/latch situation.Jury's still out on the rest of the neighbors, ha.)
-Being stuck all the way across London on a tour bus during rush hour when both the kids were melting down, knowing simultaneously that other people on the bus were judging me and that I had no way of getting us home any faster (Kids fell asleep in sticky, sweaty puddles on me; we survived and lived to tell the tale.)
-Trying to get home on the bus from the city centre in Glasgow, in the rain, while normal bus routes were suspended on two sequential days for two completely different reasons (Had to walk a long ways and take a different bus. Both times. Not my favorite set of experiences.)
-Looking at the weather forecast, realizing it's going to be in the 40s this week (IN AUGUST), and also ascertaining that we haven't the foggiest idea how to turn on the mysterious heating system (tricksy husband for the win! A victory woneven as I typed tonight).
-Getting anywhere at any point for any reason--obviously this is an exaggeration, but not having a car is an unbelievable loss of control. I can't control (as much) what the kids see; who they encounter; how speedily we get somewhere, etc. We are at the mercy of bus timetables and city events. Not to mention toddler pace, millions of request for treats, baby shenanigans, etc. Also their meltdowns are no longer contained in a car for just me to hear.  There is no rushing them to the car to regain control of a situation. My parenting is on display all.the.time, and boy is that a humbling reality!

There are lots of positives to this type of living as well, both for me as a sinful, flawed parent, and for the growth of my kids. I know God is teaching me a larger lesson about Who is in control (and who is not!) and what that means in the daily grind of life. When I talk about surrendering to His will or holding my life with an open hand, it's not just a big picture thing.
And that's good. But it's definitely not easy.