Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's like Christmas in July!!!

Today we received a wonderful package in the mail!!!  It contained MANY things that we cannot get here in the UK. I know, I know, we have only been here for 3 weeks but there are SEVERAL things that I have found so far that are really different or we just simply cannot get over here. So, with the arrival of this awesome care package that my mom-in-law sent from the states I thought this would be a great time to update the blog and inform you all of the differences we have found thus far.

#1 - No electrical outlets in the bathroom! Yep, that's right ladies...want to blow dry or curl your hair? Better find an outlet close to a mirror somewhere other than your bathroom...why? They think its dangerous to have electricity by water! (When you don't have GFI outlets I think its dangerous too but maybe then you should get better outlets!) So, how am I coping with this situation? I have an extension cord plugged into the wall in my bedroom and I drag it into the bathroom with me every morning so I can do my hair! Yep, problem solved!

#2 - Multiple Keys...Now I am a firm believer in safety but this is a tad overkill...every single door in this house has a different key! Even the double doors to go out to the conservatory, each door has a separate key! I need 2 keys and 2 hands to open the front door, so carrying in groceries or a child at the same time as I open the front door is simply out of the question. This I have not yet figured out, I am still trying to decipher what key is for what door!

#3 - Fan Assisted Oven - I'm still not sure what that means other than the fact that I burn almost EVERYTHING I cook, which for those of you who know me you know that burning food is left for my mama, not me! (sorry mama) Not only am I still having trouble learning how to use the oven all of the temperatures over here are in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit so I have to use a conversion ap that I downloaded on my smart phone every time I cook!! Yep, this one will take a while!

#4 - Washer & Dryer - OK so maybe I am spoiled but back home in Iowa I could do a load of wash in about 30 minutes and have it in the dryer until it was fully dry...Not the case here...the "fast wash" takes about 90 minutes to wash and then the dryer only dries clothes about half way which means I have learned how to use a clothing line and a drying rack! I feel like a pioneer woman or something but at least none of our clothes with be shrunk!

#5 - Parking spaces - Holy cow people these are not even big enough to fit a smart car let alone the Vauxhall Estate I am driving!! (think Mazda 6 wagon)  And to think I was worried about driving! Nope, driving is the easy part! We bought a Tom Tom which is a LIFE SAVER and I am having no problems driving on the left side of the road...its the parking I have and issue with. They do have "Parent and Child" parking spaces which are quite a bit bigger, if you are lucky enough to grab one but these are usually taken by people without children just like the "expectant mother" spots are taken up by non-expecting people in the states!

That is about all of the issues I have found at this point with the exception of everything that came in the care package...Beef Bouillon granules,  Lawry's seasoning salt, COFFEE CREAMER, Kool-Aid, chow mein noodles and stick deodorant!!! Did I mention COFFEE CREAMER?!?!?!  Yes, I am not one happy mama with a nice cup of coffee and French vanilla creamer!

Okay time to stop complaining and update you on the rest of the household. The dogs have adjusted wonderfully, Sampson and Danika love that they have a fenced in yard that they have the entire run of. AL is adjusting great thanks to the little girls across the street! She is even beginning to talk like them and I love it! She asked my mom over Skype the other day, "Where you off to?"  LOVE IT!  AJ is great, I finally have her room started and she loves that Minnie Mouse is on the wall! E is liking his job so far and I am settling in quite nicely myself. I found a nail salon nearby and have treated myself to a much needed pedicure this weekend. We are starting to get in a daily routine which is great and hopefully will continue to stay calm from here.

Until next time,
Care package and AL's toes!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

You have how many suitcases?!

We finally made it! Well we have been here for almost 2 weeks now actually bit we just finally connected to the Internet so I thought I would update you all on how our trip over the pond went.

We flew from ORD and check-in went quite smooth, or as smooth as you can go when the lady checking you in laughs that she has won the lottery with how many bags we had. 7 bags and 2 car seats is what we ended up checking, oh yeah, and we had a double stroller we gate checked and 4 carry-ons!! Yes, we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies! The plane ride went as well as you would expect with a 1 and a 3 year old. AL was an angel the entire way and AJ, well Mommy didn't get to eat any of her dinner because AJ thought it would be fun to push my dinner tray off the seat back table and into my carry on bag. Yep that's right, I was THAT mom, whit THAT kid!! I couldn't tell if the people around me really felt bad, were just plain annoyed or both! When we arrived in Manchester we had to go through customs and then get our bags. Only 1 problem with that, when we were in Chicago E's parents were there to help us get all of this crazy stuff into the airport...little did we realize how much the 2 of them being there really was a blessing...Scenario: 2 adults and 2 children who just got off of an 8 1/2 hour overnight plane ride with a 6 hour time change. Kids in double wide umbrella stroller, mom pushing said stroller with 4 carry-ons wrapped around her and the stroller. Dad has 2 luggage carts with those afore mentioned 7 suitcases and 2 car seats (pushing 1, pulling the other) through a portion of the airport where there is no reentry (meaning we could not make more that one trip). Ok so do you have this circus pictured in your mind?! Here we go...As we are very carefully and very slowly maneuvering our way through the too small sliding exit doors behind me I hear a very loud thud, thud, boom, and "OH SHIT!!!!" Yep, the cart E is pushing decides to tip over right in between the 2 sliding doors!! Did I mention he was BEHIND me and there was NO RE-ENTRY! Now we can laugh at this whole fiasco but at the time you can just about imagine how much fun we were having! Thank goodness the dogs didn't arrive until that night!

Once we finally made it to the house and got the keys and hit up ASDA (the UK Wal-Mart) we were good to go right?! WRONG! Little did we know when we got in the shower we were going to be turned into ice cubes! I guess the systems over here are a bit different then we are used to in the US...The house runs on a boiler system for hot water and nobody bothered to turn that on but in hind site (yup it truly is 20/20) that was the least of our worries...once we finally figured out the boiler system we had hot water but we no longer had cold water, but only in the showers. So the next day we called the letting agency and the said they would have a plumber over as soon as they could. Well apparently we had opposing views on what "as soon as possible" meant because E and I were showering out of the sink for almost 2 weeks before this issue was finally resolved!

For now the water is fixed so we can finally shower, E and I are getting more and more comfortable driving in the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road. (I will inform you all about that on the next post) AJ's sleeping patterns are FINALLY back to normal and AL is making great friends with the girls across the road, and did I mention I have decided to learn how to play the keyboard while we are over here?! Life is crazy and hectic but we are starting to finally adapt to this crazy, hectic way of life!!

Until next time,