Monday, 24 November 2014

Roomie Reunion

I was in a sorority in college. This surprises a lot of people, since I don't seem like the typical "sorority girl." Over the years I've heard a lot of comments about how people in sororities are basically just buying friendships. Let me tell you, if that's the case, it's the best money I've ever spent.


A couple of weekends ago, my sorority roommates and all of our kids had an amazing mini-reunion in Indiana. Katie, Megan, Heidi and I lived together in the Alpha Gamma Delta house at Indiana University our junior year of college. We've been close since then and have seen each other several times over the years. The last time we all got together, Katie had just given birth to her daughter Austin; Megan was pregnant with her third child (!); and I was two weeks away from moving to England.


Obviously a lot has changed since then (including adding three more kids to the mix!), but when we're together it is like no time has passed at all.




Katie graciously let us all crash at her place. With eleven people, including six kids under the age of 5 it was loud, chaotic and full of laughter. Katie's husband Corey was an absolute saint and kept the house standing. He and Katie's mom even gave us a night off for the four of us to enjoy dinner out.


Megan and Katie had to work on Friday, so Heidi, Tessa, Zahara and I took a day-trip to our old alma matter. Bloomington was a few hours away and we got a late start due to an unexpected trip to the doctor for Zahara (ear infection--boo!), so we only had a few hours at IU. Still, it was worth it!



Saturday we spent the whole day at the zoo, which was a huge hit. I was really impressed with the Evansville Zoo. The kids went crazy for the monkeys, and also loved pointing out the turtles who were "wrestling." Ha!




The weekend went far too quickly, but we're already talking about our next get together--hopefully Spring 2015!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Trick-or-Treat

While we were in England, there was a huge baby boom amongst our neighbors, and now there are tons of kids right around Zahara's age. It's amazing!


This Halloween we all gathered for a neighborhood potluck before trick-or-treating. Dan made a fun snake calzone with green food coloring. I love how it turned out, and it tasted great!



Zahara was a fairy princess in the morning for day care, but it was a little too chilly at night for that costume. Thankfully we had a second hand-me-down costume at the ready--a purple Pegasus.



After the poluck, Dan went back to the house to hand out candy to the kids and Z and I went trick-or-treating. She loved walking to the houses and knocking on the doors. We only made it about five houses before she tired out. It was absolutely adorable though.



And best of all, Dan and I got to eat the candy! Win-win!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Pumpkin Decorating

Happy Halloween! It is remarkable what a difference a year makes. Last year, we were propping Zahara up in the pumpkin patch trying to get one shot of her sitting upright. This year Zahara decorated her first pumpkin!



We got washable paint and let her go. The results were mixed. Of course the first thing she did was put the red paint in her mouth. But after that, she seemed to get the hang of it.





We made a "Z" out of painters tape with the idea of peeling it off when the paint dried. Unfortunately, the pumpkin got wet. It turns out washable paint doesn't mix well with rain. At least we had fun!


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Dear Zahara: 15-16 Months

Dear Zahara,

Most of the craziness of our move is mostly behind us now. We finished our travels across the United States in mid-September and have spent these last few weeks getting settled into our new home and new routine.


It took us a little while and mummy and daddy were pretty stressed, but we found you a great daycare! You started full-time October 6th. You are in Ms. Christina's house with three other children who are all right around your age (you are the youngest by a couple of months). I was really nervous, but at the end of the first day Ms. Christina said it was the best first day she had seen in her 20+ years of working. The second day was terrible and you cried most of the day, but by the third day you were fine again. You seem to be doing really well there and are enjoying playing with new friends.

First day of daycare

You are developing so quickly, it's hard to keep up! You don't even walk now, you run! You also learned to stomp your feet, which you love to do while dancing. You've got more words by the minute, and said your first two-syllable word: apple!

Apple picking in Maryland

You've got four more teeth coming at the moment (yuk!), which will bring your total to 16. Quite a mouthful! You didn't love your first time at the dentist, though she said everything looks great.

We visited the zoo for the first time, and you were in love! I think this face says it all. This is you seeing a sloth bear for the first time.


It's been a hard transition moving from England, but seeing you experience new things and watching you grow here has made it all worthwhile. We love you to the moon and back!




Monday, 27 October 2014

Date Night

Last week marked a huge milestone in my life: it was the first night I've spent away from Zahara since she was born. In the 15+ months that she's been alive, I have been there every single day and night. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being her mum and really do cherish our time together. But, let's be honest, I needed a night out with my husband.


It's not that I didn't want to leave Zahara earlier, but logistics made it impossible. Until very recently I lived across an ocean from any family. Even now, we're still a plane ride away from both sets of grandparents. Luckily for us, my wonderful in-laws came to visit last week and let us have a night to ourselves. 

A little blurry, but focused on what counts: the drinks

Zahara was amazing! She was the perfect baby, is what my mother-in-law said! As for Dan and I, we had an incredible night out. We went to a movie (Gone Girl--LOVED IT!), out to dinner and drinks; and even stayed in a hotel. Pure luxury!


Though we were only a 15-minute drive away, and we were gone for less than 18 hours, this was a huge step forward. It was a practice run for when we leave next month on a four-night cruise! Hooray for grandparents!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

What We've Been Up To: Part 2

Here are some more highlights from our last couple of months. See Part 1 here.

San Francisco/Sonoma:

An all-garlic restaurant; not for the faint of heart (or vampires)
Pier 39 in San Francisco
Harrogate friends at Alisha's brewery!

Sonoma
Hanging out with the Barrs!

Dallas:





Celebrating our 6th anniversary


San Antonio:


Zahara reading with her great-grandmother

Great-grandfather Pop Art, Great-uncle Rand, and Z

Moving Home:
Such a pro at air travel

Thank goodness for good friends

Jewish Holidays:

Dan's homemade challah

Apple Picking: