Happy Holidays 2013!

QL5A8173I, K, constantly think…’if only we could bottle this time to enjoy later’. This time is intense and without respite, but I am certain one of the most worthwhile and lovely of life. We’re doing our best to savour it…well, as much as you can while literally running at full speed with a Baby Bjorn strapped onto my chest and pushchair to catch the next bus.

To sum up the changes 2013 has brought, we now live in a new house (to us–though built sometime around 1910), in a new borough (Herne Hill–south London), with a new addition (ever-smiley Coleman). We moved to Herne Hill 19 April. Coleman was born 19 May.

Writing this in November, Herne Hill feels like home to us now. Herne Hill has the essential shops (garden centre, cafe, groceries, gourmet butcher (it’s new), lovely pubs, bookshops, toy store, pharmacy, etc) all within ~4 minutes of our door. And our station is also a 4-5 minute walk away and has us to the center of town within 10 minutes. We love it here! It’s certainly not so posh as Belsize Park, but it’s very ‘us’ and we’ve already begun to make local friends. In fact, K runs into the same people from the various playgroups and childrens activities all around town, we’re certainly not anonymous here and the huge number of children in the new borough (London’s nappy valley, supposedly) means we’re amongst our peers.

Coleman has been a super-star. The birth experience was a lovely 1 hour 40 minutes preceded by a 6 mile hike across London to coax him out. We never even had to go into hospital. He’s been amazingly smiley, happy and inquisitive ever since–he seems very social. At 6 months now, he’s eating table food and sitting up. It’s a joy to be his parents. He’s wishing for teeth this Christmas.

Walker’s 2.5 now and regularly outsmarts me (K). While on the whole he’s an absolute gem, suffice it to say our timeout timer has run out of batteries and we’ve reached to the bookshelf more than once to explore how best to parent G’s ‘mini me’. The two’s are all about boundary testing–especially when stuck indoors on a rainy day. So, thankfully, 2013 hasn’t given us many rainy days 🙂

As for travel this year, we began 2013 with a trip to Hawaii to celebrate G’s parents’ 40th anniversary with the extended family. As you would expect, Hawaii is gorgeous. And oh how we could go for another dose of sand and sunshine in grey, bleak November?! Kauai was our favourite island. Lots of good hiking to be had (6 miles straight up while 5 months preggo, thank you :)), gorgeous all-natural beach scenes by the dozen and an easy place to ‘be’ with a toddler. But a locally grown pineapple costs $10 at the local farmer’s market?! Our dreams of living in Hawaii be dashed…

When C reached 3 months, I (K) and C traveled for a quick weekend to visit a friend in Netherlands (Lottie)–and we traveled with our friends’ family (Andy, Chiaki & Co–meeting them in Helsinki before venturing to St. Petersburg together on an overnight ferry. We loved both Helsinki and St. Petersburg. The big surprise was how incredibly family friendly both cities were.

And, of course, we traveled back to the States in October of this year to introduce C to the extended family. The boys LOVED it there. And I think we all were a bit depressed upon returning to London after being completely spoiled for two weeks. And though the visit was fun-filled, I think grandparents were depressed thereafter because they aren’t able to see our boys so often as they would like.

We brought some remnants of our State-side life back to London with us this time. Silverware, a couple paintings, our wedding album, Christmas ornaments, our favourite dolls/toys from childhood (for the boys to adopt), sentimental kitsch from our old house/life for display on the bookshelves. Having bought a house in London, it’s high time to make it feel more like a representation of our ‘joined up’ life chapters rather than simply the UK. We’re looking forward to putting up our tree this year, complete with the angel we bought and Christmas treekskirt K made in time for our second Christmas together.

Diana, K’s friend from Uni, also paid us a visit this October and we had a great time showing she and her sister about town. With her visit, we’ve now seen all 4 of our wedding attendants in London. And G’s parents will have spent ~6 weeks here with us in the UK this year (7 weeks total with us counting Hawaii). We’ve been very blessed to have their help and support in London for so much of the year.

Though 2013 has been good to us, we’re exhausted. 🙂 We’re hoping for a lovely, calm year ahead to enjoy the many blessings we’ve found in 2012. [And, hopefully, a few more international trips to boot.]

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