29 August 2010

america

we are here. finally. it was a long, LONG plane trip and i am glad that it is over. or at least one leg of it is over. i will post more about that, but for now just a quick up date of what it is like so far....

oklahoma is unbelievable HOT! i must have lost about a stone already through the sweat that is constantly pouring out of me.

it is also unbelievably massive! everything here is so BIG. the cars are ridiculously huge, the roads, the buildings, the houses, the food portions, everything. it is a bit overwhelming. it has been 274 days since i have been in america. that is the longest amount of consecutive days i have been away ever. and it has made a big difference in what i am thinking/seeing/reaction/etc....

for example, the first night i was here we went to cheddars to eat. i ordered a chicken salad and left about 2/3 of it. i was stuffed, couldnt eat another bite. and the amount of chicken that was left in my bowl was more chicken than i would have gotten in the first place if i had ordered a salad in the UK. it was massice.

tonight, i went to target after e had gone to bed. i walked around for about 45 minutes just looking at everything. then i burst into tears. it was SO big, with SO many different isles, and choices, and options, and products....it was like retail vomit all over my brain. i had to leave, i couldnt take it.

i was not expecting that reaction.

i think it is because i am still tired. that flight was really, REALLY long.

a more excited post, with fun eleri pictures is forthcoming...but right now i am going to bed. still a bit overwhelmed, but very excited to be in america.

24 August 2010

Llanfihangel Talyllyn

that is the name of the village where i live. if there was ever any doubt, welsh is a crazy, crazy language. and that name is even hard to pronounce than it is to spell. i think it will take me a while to achieve my goal of speaking welsh....

this sunday was the Llanfihangel Talyllyn village show. there were cake and vegetable contests, painting, drawing, photography, and flower arranging competitions. not to mention the dog, horse and cattle showings. it was a proper country show.

little e had a GREAT day. it was her first time in a bouncy castle. safe to say she LOVED it.





there was also a fancy dress contest at the show. the theme was scarecrow. as eleri is allergic to hay and grass, we decided to hand stitch pieces of yarn to her jeans and shirt to make it look like straw. good idea, very time consuming! but the effort paid off because eleri won FIRST prize!! my daughter is awesome!



it is the little things like this village show that make living in the incredibly tiny village of llanfihangel talyllyn exciting. i am glad we went. it was a good day.

20 August 2010

some shameless bragging



it has been an incredibly busy and extremely overwhelming last 3 months. between moving out of the flat, relocating to a different country (wales is a different country to england), dealing with immigration paperwork for rhys and citizenship paperwork for me, eleri's birthdya, family holiday, rhys starting a new job, trying to adjust to life with the in-law's plus normal everyday life, well its been a lot.

i would like to say that i have handled it well. but i have not. i have had more than my fair share of breakdowns, and rhys has spent quite a few evenings listening to me as i cried for no apparent reason at all. I mentioned a few posts back about finally being settled again, and to an extent that is true. however, the move from europe to america weighs on my mind constantly. there is a never ending struggle in my mind about where i want to live and what will actually be best for our family. no matter how many lists i make, no matter how much i journal about it, talk about or think about, i am still left in the exact same spot. utter turmoil.

i have one friend who can relate to this conundrum. she too moved a family across an ocean, from a completely different culture, to middle america. and whenever i really start to go crazy, i think of her. their family has seemingly adjusted nicely. so it can be done. and that offers some comfort. (thanks sarah!)

i think what really keeps me from going completely insane at the constant changing and uncertainty that is my life right now is eleri. she is such a solid, stable, content and happy little baby. nothing seems to phase my little one. constantly moving, staying with different friends and family, new environments, lots of noise, eating on the go, lots of travelling....she takes everything in her stride and smiles through it all. i could learn a lot about life from little one. she has such a soft and sweet spirit; its unbelievable really. especially as she is not even 13 months old.

video

it is hard to imagine that over a year ago she was born. it's very cliche, but time really does fly. this past year has gone by so quickly. granted it has been overwhelming and stressful sometimes trying to figure out how to take care of a baby, but it has also been so incredible and such a blessing. i would not want to 'do' life any other way. as i have yet to do a 12 month post, let me now brag shamelessly about how awesome my child is. because believe me, she is awesome.



-walking and climbing. she is ALL OVER THE PLACE!
-she cant point to her (and yours) eyes, ears, mouth, nose, tongue, head, and toes
-she can tell she is one by holding up her pointer finger when you ask how old she is
-eats fairly well with a spoon and drinks from regular cups
-responds to requests, such as 'arms up' when we are dressing/undressing her. or 'bring _______(insert whatever) to mommy/daddy' without the motion of our hand out. -my favourite though is she likes to put things away. we give her a shirt or sock or something and ask her to put it in daddy/mommy's drawer. she goes to the dresser, opens the drawer, puts it in and then shuts the drawer. granted the entire shirt doesnt always make it in, but the effort she puts in is incredible. and then she smiles and claps for herself. she will also put her toys/books/whatever away. when she finsihes playing with something, she picks it up and walks it back over to where she got it from. apparently e is very tidy. she did not inherit that trait from her mother.
-she also imitates everything. from brushing hair to using a screwdriver. if mommy or daddy is doing it, little ele wants to do it too. for example, e watched rhys put up a baby gate. when finished, rhys put the screwdriver in the drawer and walked away. eleri went straight to the drawer, opened it, pulled the screwdriver out and started tapping on the gate at the exact same place rhys was just working. after a few minutes she replaced the screwdriver in the drawer, shut the drawer and then clapped for herself. we were so impressed. she is a very clever baby. (side note: its been about 2 weeks since rhys put the gate up. e still loves going to the drawer and taping the gate.)
-e knows some of her colours and will point them out if you ask her. for example, we take stacking cups of solid colours and put them in front of her. if you ask for the red one, she will give it to you. same for blue, yellow, and green. she is a bit rusty on the other colours.
-the little one is desperately trying to talk. you can see it on her face, she wants to speak so badly. she does say a few words though: dog, ball, daddy, mommy, papa, bye, hi, no, yeah, and comes pretty close to grandpa.
-she still sleeps like a champ. 2 hour nap in the morning, 1 hour nap in the afternoon and then about 7.30 to 7.30/8 the next morning.
-she loves to hold hands wherever we go. she always wants to walk, but never walks without reaching out for a hand. downfall to this, is it oculd be a strangers hand. she doesnt really care whose hand she is holding. she is not shy at all.
-peppers, blueberries, pasta, curry, yogurt and hummus are still her favourite foods oh, and she weighs 21.12lbs and is 28.5in tall.

i know that all parents think their child is brilliant, but mine in. and whilst some people dont feel ok talking about what their baby is or isnt doing, i have no problem shamelessly bragging about her on my blog. its an excellent way for me to keep records, not to mention i am VERY proud of my little one. she has been blessed tremendously.

speaking of blessing, looking back now i can really see the benefits of the tiny flat. we didnt have a lot of toys, so now she can find other, household things to play with. we didnt have a lot of space, so now she is fine to be/play in smaller areas, even when they are crowded. we didnt have doors, or any way to sound proof our crazy neighbours, so now she can sleep through anything. and fall asleep anywhere. we went to the local pub, rugby matches, friends houses, baby classes and now she is comfortable in different settings and with different people. because of the amount of stairs, without any lifts, she is quite an advanced climber. she is very social, very adaptable and easy going. all and all, a very well adjusted baby.

side note: i would like to take this opportunity to say 'in your face' to all the nay-sayers out there who told me when i found out i was pregnant that i was being foolish. that there was no way i could properly raise a child in such small quarters without a lot of money. well HA! showed you! ok, immature moment over. back to the shameless bragging.

whilst i am pointing out all of eleri's achievements and highlighting her happiness, our lives are not without their hard moments. there are days and nights where she cries for no reason, wont eat, wont sleep, doesnt want anyone to touch her but me or rhys and in general, is just a fuss pot. however, those days are few and far between. and again, due to our circumstances, i do see it as a blessing. a more difficult or less content and self satisfying baby would have made life in a tiny one bed flat near impossible. so i am grateful for the blessing that is my easy baby. but she is wonderful. and as mentioned in detail above, very clever.Mensa here we come!

so there it is. my update of little e. she really is my saving grace. whenever life gets really crazy, all i need to do it look at her little smiling face and everything just falls into place.

19 August 2010

not to be mean.....

so i have had a post ready for several days about how great my daughter is. but i really want to upload a video with it. i will give myself one more day to get the video attached, but until then....

i appreciate all the comments. email, blog, facebook whatever. its nice. however, i dont speak chinese. it would be a nice language to have, but i dont have it. so whoever you are that is leaving hundreds and hundreds of comments on the posts in chinese, please stop. it is overloading the blog account and making it difficult to post things. and more often then not, it comes to me as junk responses. my computer doesnt translate it, and the notifications i recieve about the comments are taking over my inbox. i dont want to cancel this blog and start all over, so please just stop leaving the countless comments. i usually welcome all comments, but those are becoming a bit of a hassle. not to mention, the few that i have had translated are pretty nasty.

so not to sound mean....but please stop leaving all of those comments!!

8 August 2010

3 years and counting.



in just a few days, i will have been married for 3 years. i cant believe that it has been 3 years already; it has gone by quite quickly. there have been hard times and easy times, but i wouldnt trade a second of my marriage for anything in the world. my husband is awesome. being married to him is awesome.





so to celebrate not only the awesome-ness that is my marriage, but also rhys' birthday (1 august), tomorrow we head off to paris. it was a birthday surprise and an anniversary present all wrapped into one. and i cant wait. rhys has never been before, and while i cant say that i particularly like paris (long story) i have never been with rhys. so i imagine it will be fantastic.





happy birthday to rhys and happy anniversary to us!

1 August 2010

after a break....

i have taken a break from the blogging world for a while. looking back, it has been about two months since i have blogged consistently. and its not just my blogging either. i have only read two blogs consistently in this time as opposed to the many i used to peruse. i have started writing in my journal again. and i have gone back to painting. basically i have returned to my roots and make some sense of life.

so what has transpired you ask?

-i have filled up almost an entire mole skin with my random writings and drawings.
-i had a manicure
-i have eaten lots of cheese
-i feel i have overcome a fairly large hurdle of comparing myself with people whose life's are so drastically different that a comparison really isn't even possible.
-i pierced my ear
-i have nearly convinced my husband that instead of moving straight to america in 2011, we should take a detour by Denmark and live in Copenhagen for a year or two. (I am looking into paperwork for that option now)
-i re-discovered my impulsive side
-i will soon advance my tattoo count to 4.
-i taught eleri a new song. she loves it.
-i cleaned out my closet
-I have dusted off my book collection of philosophers and have started reading again.
-i sold a necklace on etsy.com
-i remembered that i am in fact a laid back person and have decided to make the choice to not be so crazy.
-i almost won a pub quiz
-did i mention i have eaten loads of cheese?
-i have consumed more pints of beer than water in the past month
-i stopped listening to music whilst running and started listening to sermons. awesome.

so aside from the major events such as moving and trying to immigrate, that is what i have been doing. and it has been necessary.

There are times in our lives where we need to step back and have a breather. a chance to re-evaluate what life is really all about. because lately, that has been my big question. what is life really all about. in the world we live in today, i think it is quite easy to become overwhelmed with the 'everyday' aspects of life. work. children. husband/wife. routine. quickly we lose sight of all the other things, becoming jammed into our schedule driven life of responsibility. whilst pondering this solution to this problem, i had an indept discussion with a wonderful danish friend. he has lived a full and long life as a student of history and philosophy. and he is quite wise. he believes that Soren Kierkeggard's existential philosophy is the way to live life. the basic tenet of existentialism is that the individual has the sole responsibility for giving ones own life meaning. and the individual must work tirelessly towards that goal of full life and self fulfilment. even at risk of alienating friends and family. Kierkegaard said one must be willing to accept the consequences of society and make a choice that suits ones own best interest. my Danish friend (Kierkeggard is a Dane as well) argued that living by the principles of existentialism would eliminate the 'rut' of routine. if you didnt want to do it, if it wasnt providing you with the fullest life possible, then simply dont do it. i responded it was a self centered and unhealthy way to live. not to mention unbiblical. you cannot simply remove yourself from responsibility if they are not pleasing to you. the discussion continued, with many other intellectual greats being discussed. but at the the end of the conversation, my heart had been settled. turning your back on responsibility was not the way forward. Jesus tells us what life is all about. His message, His word, His love. like Kierkegaard, Jesus too commands us to live life passionately and fully. not to serve our own self interest, but to serve those around us. for whoever is least shall be first.

I value that conversation because whilst we finally had to agree to disagree, and still share a pint of good danish beer afterwards, it did my mind and heart well to be able to pit the principles of my Christian faith against one of the worlds most highly regarded intellectuals and have them stand up. because isnt that what life is all about? jesus? and when He is our focus, all the other things seem to slot into place.

these past few months have been really good for my heart. and my time management skills. because aside from relaxing, eating cheese, discussing philosophy and drinking beer, i have been working on making the best use of my time. for example, the little one goes down around 9.30 for a morning nap. she sleeps for two hours without fail. instead of fiddling away this chunk of time doing nothing important, i have been grabbing a cup of coffee, finding a quite spot and having some early morning prayer, meditation and bible reading time. starting the day off by calming my heart and spirit before the Lord makes a massive difference in the rest of the day. everything seems to run smoother. and life is all around more enjoyable.

and so, i have emerged from my mini blogging sabbatical refreshed and ready to start this new phase of my life in wales.