The theme for this year’s post is ‘and Baby makes 4′. That’s right…we’re preggo (again) with Baby Boy due to arrive in May (again). This is the biggest Mears family news of 2012. And with this news comes the announcement that after 6+ years in our tiny two bed flat complete with mini fridge, the Mears clan is planning to make a move in 2013.
Realising our current borough, Belsize Park, is a bit too pricey to be our long-term home (3 bedrooms here would make us house-poor and cramp our style), we’ve been visiting other more affordable bits of London since Spring. Being us, nothing short of a cheaper version of Belsize Park would do (ie tree-lined streets, good public parks, village-feel, good state schools, friendly people). And after more than six months of kissing frogs, we finally found a fit in November…Herne Hill in Southeast London. Relief!?!
With that bit of the puzzle solved, we have the simple (?) task of house-hunting and navigating the challenges of purchasing a property in the UK We’re what they call ‘chain-free’ here (ie our purchase isn’t contingent upon the sale of another property), but the conveyance process may still take 3 months (that’s the average). So fingers crossed something appropriate comes onto the market within the next couple months. But, we’re realistic. Though moving before Baby would be ideal, it may not happen…and believe it or not, we’re ok with that possibility. Though our flat’s tiny, it could work for the first six months, if pressed.
Otherwise, we’re finding life with a toddler to be incredibly fun (if only we could bottle his giggles to enjoy in 10 years!), but also exhausting at times (especially during the first trimester). He goes non-stop. And as we live in a flat, we go out everyday to find fun activities to keep W engaged and busy. He still takes good naps, but we don’t have a TV, so we have to be ‘on’ and ready with ideas, crafts and activities whenever we’re at home. Thank goodness for good childrens’ books. Without them, we would’ve lost our sanity long ago. And, as first-time parents, it’s been incredible to watch the process of an infant become an independent and self-sufficient toddler over the last year. W followed the normal trajectory (copying our sounds, crawling, furniture surfing, saying a few words, walking while aided, clapping, walking unaided, having a wide vocabulary (we counted this week and he’s up to ~275 English words!), running, dancing, singing). And he’s even beginning to speak in Spanish. So far, he has a vocab of ~30-50 words–having our Spanish nanny on day per week since July has been a Godsend.
And we feel very blessed to have a child who suits us and our urban London-surroundings so well. W’s a very happy child. As personality and character traits go, I’d describe him as happy, friendly, curious, observant, cautious, independent and strong-willed. Yes, of course, he has those moments when he runs screaming through the house at the top of his lungs or tantrums because he doesn’t get his way when he says ‘more chocolate please’. I suppose all kids do? But, as a norm, we realise our blessings and count them daily.
So, what else is new? As you’ll remember, our 2012 began with a job change for G, K going back to work (albeit with much flexibility) and a jaunt to Costa Rica for some much needed mid-winter sun. Then, G’s parents visited to celebrate W’s first birthday on the southcoast in late April and to then travel with us for our collective first-ever visit to Scotland. We took a long weekend to enjoy the lavender fields of Provence for K’s birthday mid summer (though W came down with a bug) and the rest of our holiday was spent visiting family in the States: just over a week in June/July in SML & DC and another week in late October for K&W to celebrate her parents’ 40th anniversary and announce Baby #2 (G was out of holiday). And, of course, we were amongst those soaked for the Queen’s Jubilee floatilla and amongst the crowds paying a visit to East London to attend an Olympics event. And, of course, good always comes balanced with a bit of bad. A bit run down later in the year, K came down with the shingles (while also preggo) in early November and we simultaneously received news that baby’s placenta was low-lying (ie placenta previa). These were strong blows, but both subsequently righted themselves allowing us to get back on track just in time to become UK citizens before the end of 2012.
As most of our ‘pleasure travel’ time was spent in the first half of 2012, we’re well due another family fun and sun holiday. And, as luck would have it, another one’s around the corner. G’s extended family (including us) will travel to Hawaii this January to celebrate G’s parents’ 40th anniversary. Though we’re not really looking forward to braving 40 hours’ total flight time with a toddler in tow, we are in need of a healthy dose of sand, surf and sun. Bring on the sunshine! We’ll spend a week solo in Kauai before joining G’s family on Oahu in time to board a 7 day cruise about the islands. This will be our first visit to Hawaii. And it will apparently be ideal timing for whalewatching and hiking, so we’re bringing our binoculars and hiking gear as well as our sun kit. I suppose it’s a family babymoon. Is there such a thing?
Who knows what other challenges and blessings 2013 will bring, but as of now we’re hoping to visit our good friend Andy and his family in Helsinki (they’ll be on sabbatical there from June to December), Lottie and her family in Austria or Netherlands and our Spanish friend Irene in Madrid (she helped us with our Spanish early-on). Of course, we’ll also visit Stateside at some point to introduce Baby #2 to K’s family and G’s sister’s family who do not fly. And we’ll hope to visit some Spanish-speaking nation for a bit to polish our skills. So, if the year shapes up as we think it will, 2013 will be a year of much change, fun and celebration with family and friends. May it be so!
We’d love to hear the latest with you and yours…please leave a comment, or send us an update via email! Happy 2013.