Monday, June 29, 2009

extended stay

It's been about a month and a half since my last post. How awful. Thank you for your helpful suggestions on flying to the UK with two young children. We managed to survive the flight without any disasters. I went to Cost Plus and loaded up on little toys and got a bunch of coloring books and crayons too. Turned out that we didn't really use much of these on our flight out since the flight was at 5:30pm and once the initial excitement wore off, it was bedtime for them anyway. I have learned a couple of lessons though. First, the car seat decision. We went back and forth on whether we should install a carseat on the plane for our 3.5 yr. old son. I must have read a dozen forums on this topic. We decided to take the carseat for him and since our DD was a lap baby didn't need one, we strapped his car seat onto our carry-on bag and put her in it for getting around in the airport. She loved being in it and she usually hates the stroller. This freed us up considerably and since our car seat is the Radian and it is quite narrow, we would have had no problems getting through the airplane aisle. Once we got to the gate, we were still debating whether to take it on board or not. I have read that most parents don't use a car seat on the plane once their child is 3.5 or over. I didn't see anyone else with a car seat either. So we decided to gate check it. Big mistake. Poor little man was pretty uncomfortable sleeping in his seat. Because there is no crotch strap, he kept slipping down the seat which put his neck in a really awkward position. And since he is not used to sleeping in my arms, he didn't feel comfortable sleeping on me either. We were also in the bulkhead aisle which meant that the arm rests don't go up so he couldn't lie across two seats. If we had to do it again, I would definitely take the car seat on. Our daughter was fine in the infant seat and although she only really slept for 4 hours, she was pretty content to wake up, smile and doze off again.

Double flowering Poppy in our garden

Life has been really wonderful for the last month. Weather in England has been brilliant and it is really really lovely to see both of them enjoy my mother in law's great big garden. I have been sleeping in most mornings and Jenn (my MIL) takes them out quite a bit so Nick (my husband) and I have had a lot of time to ourselves in Cambridge. It's been really lovely. I don't even remember the last time we had a day to ourselves. We also went into London and I went to the Cloth House which I really was looking forward to. I only bought some yardage of dark navy purple gingham because the fabrics there wereon these super long bolts and since I mostly make dolls now I felt a little awkward asking for less than a 1/4 of a metre. But they had the most amazing cotton velveteen I have ever seen. I couldn't believe it was cotton, it was so soft. Only downer of the day was that Nick and I missed the last off peak train out of London and it cost us an additional 29 pounds. That's right, 29 pounds so if you tally up what we paid for the off peak return tickets and the additional 29, it costs us 120 dollars to go into London and back to Cambridge. I was in total shock. Apparently, England's rail system is the most expensive in Europe. I guess I won't be going into London again for a while!

News to share with you is that I'm still here. With the kids but minus Nick. During our absence, we finally managed to sell the house back in the bay area. We decided that it would be best if he went home alone to sort out the house because, well I'm sure most of you know how hard it is to get anything done with two little munchkins. That was a hard decision. We have never been apart for more than a week during the 8 years we have been together. Seeing them so contented and happy here, to take them home where they would be couped up indoors most days while we scramble to get everything packed seemed so unfair. And....one of the things we really started to entertain for the last few weeks is the possibility of us moving to the UK. Life in England is starting to appeal to me. And to him a little. Don't get me wrong, I love living in California and I've been there for 20 years plus but the sad state California is in at the moment is really making us think deeply about where we want to for the next few years. In England our son would have free preschool in a highly regarded school. We would all have free health care. Plus we would be close to Nick's parents who have missed out on so much of our children's lives. If we do end up in Cambridge, I would even have access to a Korean and Chinese store so I would still be able to cook Asian dishes. The pros are piling up and I'm starting to imagine a little life out here for us. I would miss my family and friends like mad though. And since I have quite afraid of flying, seeing them regularly would be a bit of challenge. And the biggest con would be: fabric.
Yes, fabric. Why the heck is fabric so expensive here? I almost fell over backwards when I saw a bolt of Windham quilting cotton in John Lewis for $23 a metre. What the??

A little alley in Devizes. I went to an amazing antique and collectible shop

Anyway, I am planning on having some of my fabric and notions sent here from home and I have managed to borrow a sewing machine. I am really missing sewing right now. I've got so many ideas and projects in my head dying to be made. Does anyone know how I would go about sending a big box here? I am figuring that USPS, FedEx and UPS are too expensive but I can't google any US parcel delivery services here. I keep getting UK companies.


In the meanwhile, I will be working on a mohair teddy bear. Something I have wanted to make for a long time.

5 comments:

  1. It sounds like you are enjoying England, it is such a gorgeous country...especially in Summer.

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  2. Oh that pile of fabric looks so lovely. Please show us the finished bear. Love hearing about your thoughts and challenges in considering such a huge move. I feel you on this one! Thanks for visiting my blog, it was good to see a comment from you. Safe travels.

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  3. So lovely to read your post, summer in England is idyllic, and I'm glad you're getting to sleep in a little! It's a pretty big decision to move the the UK, but it could be a lovely thing to do, and very exciting too - good luck with trying to make a decision.
    As for fabrics - when I lived in London I used to buy fabrics from the shops in Shepherds Bush, they don't look much from the outside, but they are real treasure troves inside. You can find some amazing things there, and cheap too!
    Enjoy the rest of your stay in England, I can't wait to be there in November. I'll be there for 2 whole months now, and I can't wait!
    I'm looking forward to seeing your mohair bear...

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  4. How exciting that you enjoying your new journey so much. I am sure the kids are loving the little extra spoiling as well. Wow big decisions ahead - but good ones by the sounds. Hope nick travelled well and looking forward to seeing where life takes the brave travellers.

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  5. you may want to ask your friends and family about the USPS priority mail "flat rate" boxes. I believe they do have a flat rate box for international mail.

    -monica

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