Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meeting Santa

Visiting Santa at a local mall is very much an American commercialized event. I have yet to see any type of Santa (or Father Christmas as they call him) at any main mall area in England. Shopping malls are not as common in England to begin with but then additionally, Father Christmas tends to reside and have visitors at his "Grotto." Just out of interest I looked up the history of the Grotto online and as it turns out, the Grotto actually began as a British tradition and then grew to America and Australia, where visiting Santa has become more commercialized in the mall as opposed to just the Grotto area within one department store.

So, today we took Crosby to experience the American version of visiting Santa at the local mall in the US. Since it is just days before Christmas, the lines were alive and well so my mother agreed to go early and stand in line for nearly an hour before we arrived with Crosby. Total time spent in line waiting to meet the big guy in red was nearly 2 hours so it was a good thing that we had the tag team approach.
Upon arrival and while we waited in line, Crosby was very busy watching all of the other people in line and at the mall. She brought along her favorite stuffed animal to keep her company. Almost to the front of the line with Gram, Crosby seemed to really like watching the other children go visit Santa. All smiles in her pretty Christmas dress before meeting the big guy in red.Santa left his chair and walked over to us at the front of the line, to introduce himself to Crosby. She was slightly hesitant when he approached us but wasn't too shy just yet.The plan was for Gram to place Crosby on Santa's lap, while Scott was trying to get her attention by me while I snapped the photos of her first visit with Santa. It did not go as soon as Gram set Crosby down, she immediately curled up into a ball and tried to climb as high up back onto Gram as she could!So, then we decided to make a switch and see if Scott's presence would be a bit more reassuring to Crosby with Santa. It was not really the case. Crosby started to curl up in a ball again, this time right up against Dad.And then there were screams and tears....And more hiding in Dad's coat.

Sorry Santa, it looks like Crosby wasn't too smitten with you this year. We hope you will still visit her on Christmas Eve and hopefully next year she'll be more thrilled to sit on your lap and tell you about her year because she is a good little girl.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Transatlantic Travel with an Infant

Since Crosby's arrival, we have kept up with some travel, although admittedly not nearly as much as we used to do before her arrival. With each trip we take with her, we think to ourselves, the last trip was so much easier.....

She is just more active, more mobile, has a more set schedule, and also eats real food now. While some of these things make it a bit easier to travel with her, they also can be a bit challenging as well. For this most recent transatlantic flight we took from the UK to the US, I wanted to make sure I had enough food and snacks prepared for her during our trip. I always find that on the flight from the UK to the US, I end up eating 4 or 5 meals that day because we gain an extra six hours due to the time change. It was a bit tricky to figure when I should feed Crosby and how often she should eat, but I wanted to be prepared with lots of healthy snacks and meals, and of course extra of everything, in case we would be delayed at any point.
So, I packed the following: cucumber slices, breadsticks and spreadable cheese, a few packets of Ella's baby food for back up, "Puff" snacks (US product), dried cranberries, whole wheat breadsticks, an avocado, a hard boiled egg, dried strawberry snacks, string cheese, green beans, and chopped strawberries. Sounds like a lot of food for a little baby but I am glad I had it all for her. I ordered a child's meal on the plane but it was just like the adult plane food - not really anything great to eat, so it was much better that I had plenty of fresh food on hand for her. However now that I have so many extra things to pack for my child, it seems my bag never has anything for myself in is just filled to the brim with the "in case we need this for the baby" stuff! I would say I feel like a pack mule when I travel now on these transatlantic flights....

While the flight to the US was a bit more difficult than previous flights in that Crosby really wasn't interested in staying in her seat for the full 8 plus hours (and who can blame her, it's no fun for an adult!), the most difficult part of this trip so far came after our arrival in the US. We were staying with Scott in a hotel for a few days while he went to work for some meetings. I think it was the first and last time Crosby will be invited to stay with him on a transatlantic business trip! With Crosby being just a little bit older and on more of a good sleep schedule, she had a more difficult time shifting her schedule this time around. The first night in the US, she woke up at 2:30am and was ready for breakfast and playtime since her body thought it was 8:30am UK time. When we kept trying to get her back to sleep, there were lots of screams - er, for about 3 hours - and needless to say, I am sure we were not popular guests in that hotel as a result.
The scene at 3am in our hotel room: Crosby sitting on the chair eating cheerios off of a cutting board.

Up until this trip back to the US, we have (very luckily) not had too many issues with Crosby adjusting onto CMT from GMT. Unfortunately this trip it has taken her a good 5 full days to get back on track. Lesson learned that it is much more difficult to be in a hotel room with an infant who is fighting jet lag versus being at a house where there is space to play and eat snacks, etc. It was also very nice to have grandparents or other family members available (as Scott would say they are saints) who were with us to get up in the middle of the night to entertain our jet lagged child, so we could get a little bit of rest after walking around like zombies for the first few days back home.

Traveling back and forth on a transatlantic level is part of what we will continue to do since we live away from family but it has gotten more challenging with each trip we take. I am trying to enjoy the time we have now at home but am also dreading the return flight journey and the jet lag issues we will face once we are back in England where we will not have the extra help from family (going East seems to take even longer for Crosby to adjust back into....).

So I wonder, is it fair to travel like this with a child? I know there is no serious damage but it does seem to take its toll on her for about a week on either end of the trip. And at what point in the future will it get easier to travel with her? Or is that time now and I just don't realize how easy it is now compared to what it will be like in the future? I really don't know, but I guess time will tell....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baking Ingredients

I bake quite a bit during the weeks leading up to Christmas each year. It's become a new little tradition for us in that I bake huge trays of cookies for Scott to bring in to his office for all of his co-workers to enjoy. Then, I make bags filled with homemade treats for co-workers, neighbors, friends, etc. I used to do this before Scott & I met and then once we got married, my list of people to bake for has expanded to include his colleagues as well. I love planning the items I will make, and I do try to plan the list out in advance, so I can then go shopping to stock up on all of the baking supplies to ensure I don't run out of some important ingredient in the middle of my baking frenzy.

This year I was contemplating making these chocolate mint brownies as part of the assorted baked goods / cookies on the trays for Scott's office to enjoy, but I wasn't sure if I had seen peppermint extract on the grocery store shelf here before. I looked in my pantry and did not have any, so I went to the local Sainsbury's to see what I could find.
I was surprised of course to see the peppermint extract labeled as "AMERICAN" peppermint extract. Why is it American and not just Peppermint Extract? I did find it amusing from my standpoint, because of course I am an American who would be using it to make an American brownie recipe!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Every time I pass the "waffle" sign at the grocery store here, I think I am going to see some frozen type of Eggo waffles here, but I don't (I should know better by now).
The "waffle" sign refers to all of the potato waffles for sale in that aisle.
I have no idea if these waffles are supposed to be eaten at breakfast or dinner, but I finally bought some and we had them as a side dish for dinner last night.

My verdict is that these are the equivalent to American tater tots or something quick along those lines. They claim to be made of mashed potatoes in the shape of a waffle and that is how they tasted too. I have no idea if these are sold in the US or not, but I am always surprised that frozen waffles are not sold in the UK, since they are so popular in the US.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This post really has nothing to do with living abroad or being a resident in a foreign country - it's more of a general life observation.

I am finally getting back into an exercise routine after not keeping as fit as I probably should have during my entire time of being pregnant. Looking back on it now, I realize how much I did not enjoy being pregnant. I think a large part of it was because of the extra weight I was carrying and of course the terrible sickness at the start. Uggh, i am still ill just thinking about how awful I felt. I know it was a short lived time frame and the extra weight I gained did have a purpose in that it brought me Crosby, but I have come to realize how awful it feels to be carrying around extra weight every day.

I started to exercise again probably about 5- 6 months post delivery of the baby. Some people just jump right back into their exercise program, as if the delivery of their baby is almost like a blip on their radar and then they are back into again, but that was not the case for me. I am sure a large part of it had to do with my c-section and then the other part was just pure exhaustion. Yes, I did walk a lot with the baby - it was a way to get out of the house, get fresh air, and get a bit of exercise, but it wasn't really the rigor of which I was accustomed.

Finally getting back into an exercise routine has been paramount. I feel better and I think I am a better mother and wife because of it. Someone just described exercising to me as " it's body maintenance, just like brushing your teeth every day. You just have to do it to keep up from getting cavities." Sounds very true to me! After all, we are given only one body in this lifetime and it is our own job to keep it healthy and well.

I am still not back to my pre-pregnancy weight yet - or so I don't think I am.....I actually rarely weigh myself and I was lucky enough that the doctors and midwives never weighed me during my pregnancy (still not sure if that's a good or bad thing!). For me I always judge how my clothes fit and how I feel as the indicators of if I am carrying extra weight or not. So I am back into my pre-pregnancy clothes but they do not all fit quite the same as they did before. I am not in a rush, they will fit better in a while.

And I do not diet. I don't believe in it and I am not sure I ever will. I love sweets too much and I think dieting is a quick fix to the wrong overall approach. I subscribe to the idea that weight loss comes from an approach to eating better and taking care of your body with good, regular exercise. Everything within moderation is ok. I am just very happy to be back into the swing of a gym routine and exercising more regularly again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Celebrating Thanksgiving

One of the nice parts about being part of an expat club is the opportunity to celebrate your own national holidays with other fellow Americans who are also living abroad. Thanksgiving is one of the big holidays that is celebrated within our American club. Although it is not nearly the same as being at home with our families seated around a table, it is nice to celebrate the American holiday over here in England with people who appreciate the occasion.

So this past Sunday we gathered with our fellow American friends in a local village hall and had an afternoon feast with all of the traditional foods - from turkey to stuffing to pumpkin treats!
The buffet of food before everyone started to eat.We are so thankful for this amazing healthy baby girl in our lives. Our little turkey Crosby was wearing her new turkey bib for the special dinner! Crosby with a few of the other American kids before the dinner started. She had so much fun just watching the other children run around the hall!

Although we are not in the US for this day tomorrow, we will still pause to reflect on everything in our lives for which we are thankful. We will actually be enjoying another Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night with some American friends in Europe. We have many reasons and people for which we are thankful this year and we will be thinking of all of these things and people most especially tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Behind on Blogging

I am feeling very behind in the blogging world these days......

I remember reading another expat's blog and after about 2 years in the foreign country, she said she felt everything was "normal" and routine in her daily life, and so she ended her blog. I can safely say that after 3 years of living here in England, I do also feel like our life is much more normal over here on a day-to-day basis, but I still find bits that surprise me or make me question how the situation or item would be in the US. Most especially since having a baby, I am finding even more topics blog worthy, but alas, I clearly have not blogged all of these thoughts. Many thoughts have been started as bog posts and perhaps I will finish them (someday!!); others may never come to fruition.

I used to catch up on the blog in the evening but now my evenings seem to consist a lot of cleaning - picking up Crosby's toys, cleaning the kitchen floors and her highchair (for the third time of the day), and then working on cleaning the stains out of her clothes and soaking them until I put the next load of laundry in the wash (normally done in the evening too since I don't have to manage a baby on my hip).
Or, if I am not cleaning, I am creating a mess in the kitchen - cooking up meals for Crosby, or trying to get ahead of tomorrow's food by prepping for dinner so I can have dinner ready for Scott when he gets home from work. Or I might be decompressing by baking....which often happens....or, I am collapsed on the couch in exhausted from the day!

But back to the topic of blogging, the other side of life abroad being "normalized" to some extent is the thought of returning home to the US and how I find myself thinking about what life will be back in the US after having been away for so long. We are still unsure of when and where our next move will take us. It most likely will be back to Chicago but we can not be fully sure of that until that offer comes through. In the meantime, the thought of returning home makes me a bit more uneasy with each month that passes. Other expats who we have known have all said the return home is the hardest part of an international move. I will leave that topic for a future post, but it is one that consumes much thought these days because we have created a nice little life for our new family over here and while it will be nice to go "home," it will be difficult to leave our current "home [England]" for so many reasons.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Halloween has just passed and now it seems everyone's attention is already focused on Christmas. We are fielding questions - When are you coming home for the holidays? When do you plan on being in X city for a visit?

Surprisingly since we have been over here in England, we have actually not been home for Christmas in the US. Our first year we had been home in November so we saw our families right before the holidays, and then we took a vacation to Egypt for our first Christmas. I was quite sad not to be with my family for Christmas that year, but since I was with Scott is was ok.

Our second Christmas over here, my parents took my sister and us to Italy for a week. We really didn't do Christmas gifts, since we all took a trip together, and it was wonderful. I look forward to doing this type of Christmas celebration again and someday treating our children to vacations. It was so nice to spend time together and to experience Italy together.

And last year, I was too pregnant to fly on a long-haul flight at Christmas time, so we stayed here in England and ended up with an unexpected guest for Christmas day (my friend Sarah) due to the snow storm that hit England last year. It was a quiet Christmas but a very relaxing and enjoyable one.

This year we are flying home to the US with Crosby since it is her first Christmas and all of our families want to see her. Although our families are relatively close in proximity [just a mere 5-6 hour drive apart----to Brits, this is NOT close in proximity! but to Americans, it's "close"], the physical travel between the two cities, the stuff / gear we now have to travel with for a baby, the extra baggage for Christmas gifts, extra clothing and gear for a visit in the winter months, not to mention the attempt to please everyone involved, is already a bit overwhelming.

We are trying to secure all of our flights for this trip back, and it appears Crosby & I will be taking no less than SEVEN flights over the break. Scott will be with me for half of these flights so I will appreciate his extra set of hands for sure. Let's just hope we don't have any snowstorms or flight delays thrown in there, or else my worst travel nightmares might be coming true.....after hearing about the recent planes that were grounded in CT for over 7 hours on the runway with no electricity or assistance, I am fearful of these situations now that I will be traveling with a baby in tow. Traveling just as two adults at this time of year seems to require extra patience since it feels like every public gathering place and airport is extra crowded with people and lines for waiting are always twice as long! However now traveling with a small child, the stakes seem even higher because it is no longer just about us, it is now about trying to keep an infant appeased during all of this travel and change from her daily routine. Why do things always get so crazy at the holidays? Besides the crowds everywhere, it seems everyone is so busy and everyone is trying to cram too many visits into a short period of time. Why does it happen year after year?

Then upon arrival, we will of course be living out of suitcases, staying with relatives in someone else's home, shuffling back and forth between various houses with all of the baby gear and suitcases in tow, and will be without our own surroundings that Crosby is used to, so I know it will be twice as much work to watch her every move to make sure she is not exploring nooks and crannies that are not meant to be.

Hopefully our travels will be uneventful and punctual at best. It will be nice to go home but I do look forward to having Christmas in our own home without the hassles of travel and the worries of bad weather at this time of year. It will be nice when Crosby can wake up in her own house and we can start our own traditions as a family. This is when living so far away from home is not as attractive as being only one [short] flight away from family. For this year, we will be taking a lot of deep breaths, hoping for good weather, smooth flight connections, and a well behaved little girl!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Anglo-American Halloween Celebration

As I have mentioned before, Halloween is not as much of an event in the UK as it is in the US, although traditions we know as Americans, such as trick-or-treating, are increasing here in England. We probably had only about a dozen trick or treaters in our neighborhood, and I thought that was quite light, given that we are in a pretty family-friendly area.

Since this was Crosby's first Halloween, I thought it would be nice to have a little party with her British baby friends and their parents so we could celebrate the holiday in more of an American style!
Crosby trying out her first Halloween costume, a cute little duckie!

The Saturday before Halloween, we hosted about 15 people at the house for an early Halloween pizza dinner. Since our guests were all British friends, I decided it would be fun to introduce them to Chicago deep dish pizza and American Halloween candy, both of which none of them had ever consumed before.
I brought back a few decorations from the US on my last trip there and decorated the house with some festive things.
I was a busy baker before the party, making both chocolate "ghost" cupcakes and vanilla "jack-o-latern" cupcakes.
The table was set with the food spread including: caramel peanut apple dip, hummus & veggies, cheese & crackers, deep dish Chicago pizzas, parmesan pizza bites for the babies, frosted sugar cookies, and chocolate & vanilla cupcakes - everything homemade from scratch of course! The center of the table had lots of American candy for our guests to enjoy and take home in their goodie bags : tootsie rolls, nerds, sweet tarts, Ghost tootsie roll pops, reeses pieces, candy corn, marshmallow pumpkins, laffy taffy, and sixlets.
The sausage, veggie, and sausage & mushroom deep dish Chicago-style pizzas. They were a hit with the guests!
We tried to capture a photo of all of the babies in costume in one sitting on the couch. It was nearly impossible to do! For some reason, Crosby was not a happy camper during this photo shoot and as soon as she started crying, the others followed suit.

Then on Sunday, we attended a Halloween party, this time with the American Club in our area. Although Crosby was probably a bit too young for the activities at this event, it was nice to celebrate the occasion with our American friends.
Crosby at the party in her fancy Halloween bib I made her.
Scott has fun swinging the little duckie around upside down!
At the party, taking a photo in the decorated area.
Trying out Mom's silly Halloween sunglasses for size.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NFL in London

Once a year since 2007, the NFL has traveled to London for a football game at Wembley Stadium. Since we have been here, we have been in the country for almost every game the NFL teams have played in England, however there have not been teams of great interest to us (or should I say of interest to Scott) until this year.

When it was announced that the Chicago Bears would be playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Scott knew immediately that he wanted to attend this game. I think I heard him chanting "Bear Down, Chicago Bear" as soon as he first heard the Bears would be coming across the pond.

So, we purchased tickets with some friends and made the journey down to Wembley Stadium in London for the game last Sunday evening. It was a bit strange to experience an American football game in a British setting but it was definitely a fun experience!
One of the first big noticeable differences in attending a football game in the UK was that the concession stands were serving British fare, and not American hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels! It felt rather strange to have options such as fish and chips available at a football game, but I went with it and ordered scampi and chips. The pre-game field show was interesting. The Goo-Goo Dolls performed and the Buccaneer cheerleaders put on a show (since they were considered to be the "home" team for this game). We were there with our friends Holly & Kevin. Holly & I had a good time chatting and watching the game while the boys talked sports the entire game! Also as part of the pre game field "show," both the National Anthem and God Save the Queen were performed. And along with the songs, there were American flags on the field (as you see with the people standing underneath the red, white, and blue colors), and then the seated attendees in the stadium held up red, white and blue papers to make a large Union Jack out of the crowd. It was very cool.

Given the high population of Americans who live in London (close to 500,000 in London alone), I thought the crowd would mainly be made up of Americans. However when God Save the Queen was performed and the crowd chimed in, I realized we, as Americans, were in the minority for this game.
Luckily for Scott, we were able to see the Bears beat up on the Bucs in a great game. It was fun to have a little bit of an American sporting tradition over here, even if it had a British "twist" to it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The British Pumpkin Patch

In the US, I grew up going to huge pumpkin patches every year - complete with their corn mazes, spooky scarecrows, hay rides, festive foods, and more. In preschool and grade school I am sure there were school trips to the pumpkin patches every fall. In the US, a trip to the pumpkin patch is one that every family seems to make in the September/ October time frame. I have plenty of photos through the years of our trips to the pumpkin patch, where my sister & I would each pick out our pumpkins that we would carve for Halloween. It is fun, festive, and part of the build-up that goes into celebrating Halloween in the US.

I may have touched on this subject to some degree in the past but the pumpkin patch is yet another example of how commercialized the Halloween Holiday is in the US versus in the UK where it is not as elaborate in scope (Although admittedly growing in popularity each year but the looks of the store shelves...)

Now that we have a little girl to start such family traditions with, it seemed only fitting that we celebrate the fall season with a trip to the local pumpkin patch, so last weekend I searched for a local pumpkin patch in our area and luckily we found one within about 20 minutes of a drive.
The pumpkin patch was located on farm in the middle of the countryside and they had one large pumpkin balloon flying in the air for people to be able to find them. It only took us about 5 minutes to walk around the entire pumpkin selection area of this farm, but it was really a cute little find - just quite different than the massive pumpkin farm industry in America!
The farm owners had some "spooky" and festive decor set up on their property.
Inside the tent of pumpkins. Much different to the US, there was only one small tent filled with pumpkins (although a nice selection of them!).
Crosby took in the view of the pumpkins from Dad's shoulders.
There was a cute old fashioned large scale there to weigh the pumpkins, so we decided to weigh our little pumpkin to see how she compared!
We seated Crosby next to a few of the pumpkins for a while. She happily sat there and just watched the other people visiting the pumpkin farm walk around. She most definitely enjoys being out watching people.
Is that a pumpkin head or Scott??!?!?
After we selected a few pumpkins, we piled the pumpkins and Crosby into the little wagon the farm had on site.
Scott pulled the pumpkins and Crosby back to our car. It was a short little visit but it seemed festive and we were glad to support a local farmer in our purchase of pumpkins, rather than the grocery store.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

World Series of Baseball

It is amazing how smart babies can be at such a young age. I am impressed with Crosby already....although she hasn't lived in the US yet, she already knows where her roots and loyalties lie. I went to pick out an outfit for her to wear and she picked out her little St. Louis Cardinal's onesie because just the other day she heard her Pa talking about how he was wearing his Cardinal's gear to support the home team.
It's a good thing Crosby is so smart already at a young age and already knows which baseball team is going to win the world series. Wish we could watch game #3 tonight but we'll be rooting for the red birds all the way over here!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Royal Mail

There is something so very British about the fancy red mailboxes throughout this country. Crosby, Bashful her pig, and I took a walk today to our local post box to send some letters to America. Crosby held on to them tightly until it was time to drop them in the red letter box (or perhaps she ate chewed on them along the walk to get to there?!?!). I love seeing all of the red post boxes dotted along the streets of this country.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

British Fashionista

The weather was a bit crisp today when Crosby & I decided to go for a walk. Since it was cooler weather outside, Crosby wore her little Burberry coat from our friends Beth & BJ for the very first time. She fits right in here in England with the Burberry plaid as part of her wardrobe!
A little budding British fashionista at a very young age....

Friday, October 7, 2011

American "Loot"

Scott about croaked when he helped me unpack my suitcases when Crosby & I returned back to England this week. I had almost an entire suitcase full of food - namely Halloween loot and candy! Ooops....

We are planning to host a little Halloween party for some of our British friends who have children within a few weeks of age of Crosby so I figured that was the perfect excuse to bring back lots of American Halloween candy so they can all try the American sweets we like.

Now that Crosby is eating food in full force, I also brought back a few baby items that she enjoyed in the US that I cannot find here - "puffs," plain Cheerios, Rice Rusks, disposable place mats for eating out at restaurants (love them), etc.
It's a good thing we have status with the airline so I am allowed plenty of extra baggage! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Torn between two places

Crosby & I are winding down our US trip here within the next few days. It has been a great visit although it has gone by WAY TOO FAST! We surely do miss Scott while we are here but it is so nice to be back home. Every time I am back home, I realize how much I really am a "home body." Scott knows it so he is good about encouraging me to come home and spend time with my family. I miss them terribly but I know my parents have given me good roots & wings, which is why they have been so supportive of our stint abroad for Scott's job. It is the right thing for his career at the moment, and has provided a foundation for our marriage that we never could have experienced with another path, but each time I am back home, I realize how nice it is to be here too, and I often think of what it would be like if I actually lived near my family (unfortunately not quite a reality for us anytime soon).

However there is a part of me that feels like England is also our home, and so I feel torn between the two places.

I know that if we were to be sent back "home" to the US anytime soon, I would miss England terribly. We have a life there now with established routines, friends, and great experiences every day. It has been a life changing experience for so many reasons.

Now with Crosby in our lives, it just seems more difficult to be away from our families, but at the same time when we are home in the US, it seems difficult to be away from Scott and from our daily routine / nuclear family in England. I wonder if it will ever get easier to leave "home"---- In whichever direction that is?

Scott says I always get sentimental when I am about to leave my parents and once I return back to our daily routine, I am fine. This may be the case (he knows me well) but I do think now that we have our own family, I feel more torn between the two places than I ever have been before.

I just know it's a weird spot to be in at the moment. I hate the thought of having to leave my parents and go back to England in a few days, but at the same time I hate the thought of one day having to move back to the US away from our life in England.....
Crosby luckily is happy on either side of the pond (although probably gets much more attention here in the US!) She has been happily adapting to life in the US with her morning dose of cheerios.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shopping til she Drops!

Crosby has been happily riding in various shopping carts since we have been back in the US. I realized she has not been in a shopping cart in the front seat bit until now. We don't really go to the grocery store too often in the UK (since we do the online grocery ordering) and when I do nip into the store, I usually just take Crosby in her car seat and place it straight into the cart. Besides the grocery store, we don't really go shopping as often in England because A/ there are not nearly as many big box retailers in the UK as there are in the US and B/ if we go to the store, we usually just walk to our town's high street and so Crosby is typically just in her stroller.

Since we have been back in the US, Crosby has fallen in love with riding in shopping carts. Strange? Possibly but she seems to be a very social baby so she enjoys being in stores, sitting up high in the carts, and people watching until her heart's content. I really cannot get over how much attention she gets at every store we enter! She is one happy baby when she is riding in the shopping cart....
Riding in the shopping cart at Kohl's. She had so much fun watching the other shoppers and trying to reach out to touch all of the clothes, towels, etc. from her little shopping cart!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back in America

Crosby & I are currently spending some quality time back in the US. Scott has been working long crazy hours lately and has had quite a bit of travel, so we decided it was a good opportunity to come home for a bit. It seems to be a win-win for both parties. I am getting some much need R&R, since I am home with my parents, Crosby is getting lots of good attention, Gram & Pa are glad to have us both home for a bit, and Scott is able to work long hours and travel without worrying about his two girls being on our own.
When Scott travels for work over the weekends, it gets really tough for me to be on my own all the time. It is at those times in particular that the distance of being so far away from my family really hits home. If we were back in the US, it would be easy just to catch a short flight or drive a few hours to go home for a few days for a break, but having to fly over 4,000 miles with an infant by myself is a scope of a different magnitude! So, in order to really make the cost of the trip and the distance of the trip worthwhile, it is best to come home for at least a few weeks so we can actually enjoy our time here without fighting jet lag the entire time.
Once we get through that VERY LONG and hairy day of travel, it is so nice to be home and to stay put for a while, without anything pressing to do, and to have extra eager helping hands around. We have had a few outings since we have been home, but overall we are really just trying to enjoy some R&R in the good old USA.
Entertaining a 7 month old on a 13 hour cumulative plane journey was not as easy as it was when she was only 3 months old....after the connection in Newark, Crosby was not as impressed with sitting in her car seat for yet another plane ride, but we did survive (other passengers might not have been pleased with us).
Luckily when we landed in STL, she was all smiles and no one ever would have known she spent the majority of the last flight screaming most of the way!
There was a parenting failure on the morning that we left the UK. Scott took Crosby's favorite stuffed animal "winky" out of her crib and I thought he brought it with her when he put her in the car seat to go the airport. Unfortunately he forgot the animal and did not realize the importance of this stuffed being. It is "the thing" Crosby snuggles with every time she goes to it is a necessary travel companion. Luckily Scott is a good Dad and thought ahead to call my Mom in the US as soon as we left to notify her about the forgotten stuffed animal. Since Winky came from STL, my mom was able to go find another one and Crosby was SO excited and happy to be reunited with the animal upon our arrival in STL!
Since arriving in the US, Crosby has tried lots of new foods while sitting in my old high chair! She loves it and I love it too. I wish I could transport it back to the UK with us because it is sturdy, wooden and much nicer looking than our plastic high chair we bought in England (my irritation with high chairs is a subject for another day). At least she'll get to use it every time we come home. Crosby is enjoying the American foods, just as I am....she has tried Cheerios (which she loves - they do not sell plain Cheerios in the UK, they all have sugar coatings so I won't buy them for her), she has had USDA aged steak (ground up), and she has tried the little "puffs" sold for babies here. Her hand-eye coordination is really improving and she loves to feed herself.
We went to visit Pa / my Dad at his office one afternoon for our daily outing. Since he runs a family business, it is important that Crosby knows about it from an early age in case she ever wants to work there!
In the back garden of the office, my Dad has a vegetable garden growing. We picked a tomato and Crosby tried her first one from there. She seemed to like it!
Crosby also made another "well child" visit to one of my old pediatricians. She was given a great bill of health and is growing very well! She is at the 100% for her height and 96% for her weight. Interestingly enough, since our last visit to the US pediatrician (back in May), The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its stance on the introduction of foods for babies. Now, much more in line with how the UK approach has been, babies after 6 months of age can eat almost everything and anything (except honey) - including fish, strawberries, nuts, etc. Apparently the guidelines change every so often when new research comes out and so now we are introducing more foods to Crosby right away as the academy suggests.
And of course since we are staying with my parents, Gram / my Mom has Crosby already working on her chores, manners, and good behavior! Although Crosby doesn't have any teeth just yet, my Mom is already teaching her that she needs to brush her teeth multiple times a day!