sisters

At home with my folks, Hampshire, England

It’s been a fortnight since we returned from the UK to the US. We are heading back to New Zealand to live at the beginning of October, but for now we’re in limbo; between the two places we love.

I haven’t felt like writing anything much, but have tried to fit in a little reminiscing about our trip. It’s bittersweet to write about the times we shared with our wonderful family and friends whilst in the UK: On the one hand, the photos and memories make the trip linger on and make everyone we love there feel closer; On the other hand, I’m thrown against the wall of reality – that we shan’t see them for a year or so, at the least, and we are about to move even further away again – back to New Zealand.

On every trip back there are always so many people we don’t manage to meet up with; as well as all the wonderful reunions I write about. I haven’t seen many cousins, aunts and uncles in well over a decade. The UK is my home of birth, but not my children’s home. They were born in New Zealand and, as much as they’ve enjoyed this time living in the US, are looking forward to getting back there.

I am forever torn in two – trying to be positive for my children and their future (for sure they have an amazing life in New Zealand and a wonderful future with so much freedom of choice and opportunities), whilst feeling guilty at not being there for my folks. I feel driven to write down all the events, both big and small, that make up the passages of time; clinging on to them to protect them from fading. However faded those memories become they will live on in photographs and the love that we shall always feel in our hearts.

So, this is what it is; a place where I can write about the times we have shared and safeguard them in some small way.

Our last week in Europe was spent with my Mum and Dad in their Hampshire home.

My dear folks with their youngest granddaughter, Alice

It’s where they have lived for thirty-five years and where I grew up. My best-friend, from when I was 11, still lives a few houses away and many of my other school friends have stayed and are seeing their own children pass through the schools we went to. The week was one of spending time with people that have touched my life throughout the years and still mean so much to me. I caught up with friends over coffee, at local pubs, even at a new trampoline centre (anything to keep the children happy!).

Old University friends of both my husband and I (yes, we met way back then… at Southampton University) came together. We shared memories, talked of our different life journeys – the happy and sad parts that combine to make life’s rich tapestry – and looked forward through our children’s eyes at what is yet to be.

We took a day trip into London with my folks and our children, walking through the parks and admiring the sights steeped in history. Hubby took our older two children to the theatre to see ‘Phantom of the Opera’, whilst I spent a lovely afternoon boating along the river Thames with our youngest daughter and my folks.

The week came to a close on a Friday. Our flight scheduled to leave Saturday afternoon. The last day was spent sharing my best friend’s celebration of her youngest son turning ten. She kindly invited us to share the ‘football party’. It was lovely to see her sons and my daughters getting on so easily.

In the afternoon one of our nephew’s, Michael, came down from his University digs, along with his lovely girlfriend, to spend the evening with  hubby and I. One of the binding memories of our visit to the UK this time round was how our daughters enjoyed the company of their older cousins – they were reunited with all but one of their six cousins. All their cousins are boys, and most are a fair bit older, but the bond of family made their union easy.

Michael, Sophie & Alice

Likewise, the bond between Aunts and Uncles and the girls, their nieces, was lovely to see.

Seeing my sister and having the chance to head out for a run with her was a special highlight for me (yes, I’m still running – before wine… have to earn it now I’m forty!).

My sister and I

The memories will live on in our hearts forever xxx

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Linking up with ‘The Photo Gallery’ at Sticky Fingers

 

Loved celebrating four years of our youngest daughter being in our lives!

We are so very blessed to have Alice in our family. She has spent her first four years sharing her happy zest for life with us and bringing us all so much joy. There’s been no need to rush her off to kindergarten when we were in New Zealand, or a preschool whilst here in California, as she’s always had plenty of activity in the home with her sisters, neighbourhood friends and family. She’s a chatty, friendly, sociable girl who has sooooo much love to share.

Alice the Princess!

We enjoyed a fabulous day of fourth Birthday celebrations with her over the weekend; from a morning of present opening and playing, to an afternoon of splashing in the swimming pool, running on the beach and finishing up with Birthday cake. Nothing was planned, everything just flowed.

She loved her special day and kept asking, again and again, ‘Am I really four now?’.

She kept checking to see if anything about herself had changed, along with her age. She thought that she’d be a different size or have to sleep in a different bed. I recall her older sisters asking similar questions around this age. She was almost a little worried about turning four, saying, ‘I’m happy being three, but I do like Birthdays!’.

It was hilarious when the man of the house got the kayak in the swimming pool and she togged up in a life-jacket for a ‘high sea adventure’! She loves the water and her biggest accomplishment this year has been learning to swim.

High sea adventure in the swimming pool with Daddy!

Her energy throughout the day was wonderful and she just about managed to stay awake for some Birthday cake, after meeting me on the beach, after my jog, for a little workout of her own! We drove back home, with the top open on the VW, to keep her awake. She crashed pretty soon after blowing out her candles and devouring the icing off her Birthday cake!

Her good friend here, Ollie, couldn’t make her actual Birthday – but we are looking forward to a bit of party fun, pirate style, this coming weekend with him!

Miss 4 lives in a world of imagination and creativity.

On any given day she could be a princess, a vet, a doctor, a zombie (older sister’s & Minecraft!)

Face paint is frequently requested and she asked me to turn her into a puppy dog the other day – to surprise her Daddy on his return from a three day business trip away (she wanted to ‘pretend’ she was a new pet in the house).

Alice puppy dog facepaint

She plays with her toys in such creative, imaginary ways, making up stories with her dolls, or dinosaurs, cars, trains… she’ll pick up sticks, leaves and acorns for various props, anything to hand makes a story really!

It’s such a joy to have her around. Formal schooling is not something in her mind or ours right now. To be honest, there’s little need, as she’s thriving with natural learning of numbers, letters, art and the beginning of writing. She joins in science experiments with her sisters, builds and creates with blocks, lego, magnets and connecting rods, she sings and dances every day and is always on the go physically. Everything she needs in life is here, at home, with family and friends. This time in her life is full of magic, limitless possibilities in her imaginary worlds and living in the moment. We love you Alice Rose xxxx

Happy Birthday Alice!

Things I’m Loving

Merry-go-rounds and sisters

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Sunshine and convertibles

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Pretzels and chilled drinks

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Shopping areas with architectural flair

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Sea creatures and an inquisitive child

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Water fountains and wishes

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New cafes, tastes and children who are willing to try
(at least two out of our three are!)

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Joining in this week with the wonderful Meghan of ‘The Adventures of MNMs’,
from our beloved home of Wellington, New Zealand, with –