Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The last part of our trip ended with a week in Indiana. We started the week with Scott's parents in central Indiana, and then ended the weekend in northwest Indiana, with both sides of our family, where we had Crosby baptized in her Great Grandmother's Church. It was a packed and busy week but lots of people got to meet little Crosby. She even got to experience her first tornado warning sirens! (not a part of life in midwest we miss very much...)
Up early the first day of our visit and chatting away with Grandpa Craig in the morning. He's so entertaining, so Crosby had a lot to share with him!
Trying out Grandpa Craig's chair for size. Still a bit of room to grow...
One evening we went with Scott's parents to their choir practice. They had a pot luck dinner reception first so everyone could meet their new granddaughter, Crosby. Scott & I were commenting on the great American salads and dishes at a "pot luck" meal in the US. Pot lucks in the UK really don't compare to American salads and dishes - the UK tends to gravitate towards sausage rolls, store bought mayo based salads, pork pies and other rather different dishes.
Crosby was introduced to some of Grandma Cris' dearest friends, Carla and Randi, who have both known Scott since he was a baby too.
Meeting Mrs. Nancy
And Scott's friend Dan
Great Grandma watching Crosby swing away the afternoon.
Meeting Mrs. Linda
Celebrating Grandma Cris' birthday while we were visiting. Crosby didn't have any cake this time either but I think she enjoyed the candles.
On Grandma Cris' birthday, Crosby had special photos taken with both Great Grandma and Grandma Cris.

After the week with Scott's parents, we all headed to northwest Indiana to visit with more relatives and for Crosby's baptism at Great Grandma's Church there.
On Saturday evening before the baptism, Great Grandma hosted a lovely dinner for some of Scott's and my family so everyone could spend more time with Crosby. She got to meet her Great Aunt Kathie and Great Uncle Steve there for the first time.
Crosby also got to meet Uncle Matt!
And Uncle Todd!
We all had a nice dinner and a good time snuggling with the baby.
Back at the hotel that night, Aunt Carrie had a sleepover with Crosby in her room!
Sunday morning was the morning of the christening. Crosby looked so pretty in my dress that I wore for my christening, and she even had a new pretty pearl bracelet from Gram & Pa for the special occasion too.
With her godparents, Jonathan & Sarah, and us before the ceremony.
Both of our families before the ceremony.

The ceremony was very nice and it was even more special that we were able to have Crosby christened in the same church where Scott's parents were married and Scott was baptized too.
After the christening, we hosted a lunch at a nearby restaurant for both sides of our family. Many more cuddles with Crosby were in order! It was a great end to the trip to the US and a wonderful occasion for many of our loved ones to meet our newest treasure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

St. Louis

The first stop on our US "tour" was St. Louis. I spent some extra time there with Crosby while Scott was back in Europe traveling around for work. It was nice that I was able to be home with my parents for a bit instead of being at home by myself with Crosby in England while Scott was away. I have never seen Grandparents so excited to change diapers, bathe the baby, or even do her laundry than my parents were when we arrived. While Crosby liked the attention and change of scene, I think I enjoyed the rest and break more, most especially since I had my parents taking care of me too! (although I am going to say Scott really enjoyed sending me back home because he was able to get quite a few nights of un-interrupted sleep and was off diaper duty while we were away!!) We enjoyed the time at home and I ate all of my favorite St. Louis foods and treats, and I also enjoyed multiple trips to Target while there!
Crosby practiced time on her tummy while we were home. Pa sure loved playing with her every night when he got home from work!
Gram started Crosby on her "good manner" program with her first visit home. She is to wear a bib at all meals and is learning how to sit properly at the dinner table like a lady. Scott and my mom often joke that we will send Crosby to my mom's for "manner camp" but I am not sure there is really any joking involved. The lessons have already begun!
The first weekend I was home, my Mom hosted a luncheon for Crosby to meet "the ladies." Many of these women have known me since I was Crosby's age, so it was very special for me to have them see and meet Crosby while we were there. As always, Crosby was a gem of a baby and she was passed from one lady to the next without any fussing at all.
We visited my Dad's office where Crosby decided to get to work at a very early age. The family business may just be her cup of tea someday!

One of the main reasons we decided to go home in May was because my Dad celebrated a special birthday. While he does not like surprises, he did enjoy the (few) we helped orchestrate for his birthday.
First, on his actual birthday, my sister Carrie arrived from Denver for a surprise visit. She got to meet Crosby for the first time too!
We all celebrated my Dad's birthday that evening with dinner and cake at home. Crosby couldn't eat the cake but I suspect it won't be long until the doberge torte from one of our favorite St. Louis bakeries becomes one of her favorites too.
Carrie, Crosby and me with my Dad on his birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!

Auntie Carrie had lots of fun playing with Crosby. Crosby resembles Carrie a LOT as a baby so I have to wonder if people who saw them with one another thought they belonged together?
We also had a play date with two of my friends from high school who were both in town with their kids. It was great fun to catch up with them and to be able to meet their kids while we were all home!

The weekend Scott arrived in St. Louis was a weekend planned with a bit of another small surprise for my Dad's special birthday. Some very dear family friends of ours came to St. Louis from Milkwaukee, Chicago, and Kansas City to celebrate with all of us. This family might as well be our real extended family since we have grown up with their two girls, have spent family vacations and holidays together, and they are all still our dearest family friends and girlfriends!
Em snuggling with little Crosby.
Emily's daughter Ella became Scott's buddy right away. We often skype with Em & Ella so it was fun to see them in "real life" too.
Amy with little Crosby.
Ella made a special birthday hat for my Dad and gave it to him!
The four girls - Amy, Carrie, Cassie & Emily - all back together again! I think it's been 6 years since we were all together as we were this time. Now there are two more little girls to add to the mix - Ella & Crosby!

While being back home was great, it also made me a little sad that we are so far away from our families now that we have Crosby. I have always missed my family since we have moved away, but not as much as I do now that we have a baby. Skype makes it easier to see everyone on a daily basis but it sure would be nice to not have to travel across a large ocean and multiple time zones to get home for a bit. I know we are very fortunate for this opportunity to live abroad so I am not complaining, but I do think that I will look forward to going "home" for different reasons now with Crosby than I did before she arrived. In the meantime, we will treasure our visits we have with our families, which are probably in longer stretches compared to if we were living close by and would see them more often, but for less amounts of time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Visit to the US Pediatrician

Today my mom and I took Crosby to visit my old pediatrician for a "well child" visit. Since we know we will eventually be moving back to the US and due to the lack of regular "well child" visits at pediatrician's offices in the UK (actually there are no specific pediatricians for children through the NHS in England, unless there are problems and then a pediatrician would be considered a "specialist"), I decided it would be a good idea to start a medical history for Crosby here in the US and also just wanted to have piece of mind with a doctor I've known to review her here.

I was pleased to have taken Crosby to the doctor's office today to confirm the fact that she is a healthy growing little girl! She is at the 99th percentile for her height and weight and is at the 90th percentile for her head size. Crosby is just over 17 lbs already and is 26 1/2 inches tall at only 3 months of age! I sure do have an arm workout on my hands....

The not-so-fun part of the visit for Crosby was the start of her Hep B shot series. The UK does not immunize for Hep B but they do here in the US, so I wanted to make sure she started the series. It will work out well that she will be able to get the second round of this shot in the fall when Crosby & I come home for another visit. I also found out that she missed the roto-virus shot in the UK, and they do immunize for that here in the US. Unfortunately the shot has to be given before a baby is 2 months old, so we have missed the window for Crosby. Luckily it's not a serious shot but it just means we may have a bought of a virus on our hands before Crosby turns 2.
Sitting on the exam table with mom - just where I used to sit!
Getting those ears checked out....all was well. We are so lucky to have a healthy, growing, and happy little baby girl!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Observations in the US

Once again I find myself looking at life in America with a different view, upon first arrival back here during our visit. For this visit, I am home for nearly 3 weeks which is the longest amount of time I have been back "home" in nearly 2 years. Because I am spending more time here, I find myself really comparing and contrasting bits about the US vs bit about our life in the UK.

As I sit here watching the local evening news right now, I am noticing how many murders and shootings are reported for one city alone. In England, there may be one shooting mentioned every few nights but overall, not many murders are mentioned nightly on the national news. The gun crimes and sensationalized news really does seem to be more heightened here in the US.

SUVs. As my Mom and I drove into a shopping centre the other day, I remarked that nearly 75% of all cars in the small parking lot were SUVs. It is nearly impossible to see around these cars when pulling out of the parking spaces. I said I wonder if when we move back to America, will we give in to this aspect of American culture and buy a SUV so we can tote kids, luggage, etc. around town?

Opening Hours. I have been to Target late at night after my little Crosby has gone to bed (Gram & Pa on baby duty of course). Target is open until 11pm! I can only imagine what kind of errands I would be able to run in England if stores were open that late and I would be able to go out after 8pm at night....

The grocery store. I find myself in awe of all the new products on the shelves that I have not seen before nor have I tried. I hope I won't go too crazy in tasting all of them once I move back. I also find myself in amazement over how many flavors of ice cream are here in the US at the grocery. I realize how limited the variety selection is in England. I have missed good ice cream tubs.
I also found myself looking for products at the grocery store here, that I have been accustomed to in England.

With all of these comparisons that are running through my mind while I am home, I wonder how long it will take to fully readjust to life here in the US (once we move back) before I stop comparing the two countries? Initially I guess I never thought I would be comparing the things I now prefer in England to things back here in America....so I may eventually be returning to the US with a different set of eyes than those of when I moved away.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Transatlantic Travel

Crosby & I have come "home" for a few weeks - Crosby's first flight and her first trip to America. Scott will join us later for some time with family here in the US, but since I am on maternity leave and Scott is busy with work, I decided to take some extra time at home first. (Secretly I have to admit is really nice to have time at home with doting grandparents who want to help out with Crosby and take care of me - doing everything from changing diapers, bathing the little beauty, and even sleeping with a jet-lagged baby so I can get a break.)

While we are now enjoying some down time at home, the trip here was a bit stressful for me. I was quite nervous to be flying with an infant BY MYSELF for her first time on a flight - a LONG one at that....13 hours of travel, 2 flights and nearly 4,000 miles traveled in one day!

So many things could have gone wrong, but luckily Crosby did pretty well and after doing it on my own, I am pleased that it went so well - but I do hope that I will always offer help to any other mother or father I see traveling by her or his self. I was expecting the airline staff to be more helpful when boarding or de-boarding the plane with an infant, but they really didn't offer too much assistance to me when I was trying to collapse the stroller at the gate, when I was trying to put my hand luggage in the overhead bins, etc. etc.
The "stuff" to manage on my own....2 suitcases (about 90 lbs in total weight), a stroller, a car seat, the baby(!), three carry on bags, and myself. Whew, it made for two handfuls (literally) at the Newark Airport where we had to collect luggage and clear customs. As seen here, this is how I managed....two suitcases being wheeled in one hand, baby and kit in the other hand, with all bags hanging off my shoulders.
Crosby was fast asleep in her car seat when we first took off into the air. Then, I had requested this bassinet for her to use (available on certain long haul flights for babies under 6 months of age) and she did pretty well in it for most of the flight. She woke up about mid way through the flight and screamed for a little bit but then seemed to be just fine. I have to wonder if she was either not sure where she was - or maybe her ears were bothered?
Wide awake later on during the flight and looking around at all of the people on board!
At the end of the flight, in her car seat ready to go....just waiting for everyone else to get off the plane first so we could take our time to put the stroller together before racing down to baggage claim to collect our bags for customs and our connecting flight. Let's hope Crosby's good traveling behavior continues for a long time!