Our First Tea Time: The Lavender House

The Lavender Room 7Our day-to-day schedule is not so bad, now that we’ve moved, considering we’re all cramped into a single hotel room and we’re five hours ahead. But we do frequently find ourselves wishing for an afternoon snack to tide us over till dinner and then yesterday, it finally dawned on me: That is why British people have afternoon tea. DUH.

We saw the cutest little teahouse a few days ago, on the same block as the laudromat (called a launderette, here) where we washed some clothes. It is called The Lavender House and when we tried to head in while we waited for our stuff to dry, we were told they were closing. (It was 4 p.m. Not a lot of demand for tea after that.)

So we went back today.

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Dexter Ian: Sixteen Months Old

Dexter Ian is sixteen months old today.

Well, folks, we skipped fifteen months. We were deep into all of the logistics of moving and getting rid of our stuff and securing paperwork and I’m pretty sure we were also visiting family and I was sick as hell…. it just didn’t happen. It is my deep hope that Dexter will emotionally recover from this oversight.

So, strap in. We have a lot of ground to cover.

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Officially Brentered

Sometimes, it just takes a breakfast buffet with your own tiny pot of coffee to make things feel okay again.

A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I've ever traveled with in mu life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.
A trunk, four suitcases and a pack-n-play: the most luggage I’ve ever traveled with in my life. When we arrived at Gatwick and our driver saw us, he just backed away, shaking his head in horror, so that was a good start.

Yes, we’re officially in the UK. I know this because when I browse the internet, the ads and suggested links are turning British. Oh, and also when I look out a window I see England. Yes, the trip over here, and first day, were like tiny little hellscapes. Let me tell you why.

As previously reported, our friends Pete and Megan and their adorable puppy Lola graciously opened up our home to us until things got sorted. It was great to have some extra time with them, and the few extra days did buy us time to handle a few things outstanding – mainly, even after shedding or shipping probably 90% of our belongings, we somehow still had too much stuff.

Most of you probably haven’t gotten rid of most of your stuff to move overseas. I know I hadn’t. It is difficult, but not for the reasons you’d think. We actually didn’t find it hard to let go, for the most part. What I didn’t initially grasp is that inventorying every item we own is really just a series of thousands of tiny decisions. I don’t know about you, but I do not make every decision perfectly, the first time, and that’s what led to us overestimating the suitcase space we’d have and coming to Megan and Pete’s with way too much stuff. So once again, there was sorting and decision-making and repacking and despite our best efforts, we ended up leaving behind a small pile of things, for which I am about to issue an apology to Megan and Pete, but maybe Lola would enjoy some of Dexter’s toy balls.

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Brentering, Deferred

So, despite selling our house and being bon voyaged, we are still in Florida. I will attempt to make a very, very, very long story short.

This is the actual crate. I'm so happy Dexter's wagon fit but Matt thinks that space would have been better used another way. We've agreed to disagree.
This is the actual crate. I’m so happy Dexter’s wagon fit but Matt thinks that space would have been better used another way. We’ve agreed to disagree.

In order to apply for our visas, we had to obtain a passport for Dexter and then send the whole family’s passports, plus Dex’s birth certificate, our marriage license (all originals!) and a two-inch thick sheaf of paperwork to the British government. The visas were approved while we were visiting family up north, and because the package required a signature, we arranged for it to be delivered to our home Friday, the day after our return to Orlando.

From there, the plan was to spend the weekend packing and discarding, with a break for a bon voyage party Saturday evening. We’re having a 200 cubic foot crate shipped to the UK, and that pickup was Monday morning. Sign papers to close on house Monday evening, officially get out of house Tuesday morning then fly over Tuesday afternoon.

Except, when the package arrived Friday, it only contained Matt’s passport and visa. Dexter’s and mine, along with our important documents, were missing.

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Dexter Ian: Thirteen Months Old

13Months (2)Dexter is 13 months old today.

This is a good, good age. He’s starting to appreciate our connections through interactions, and will do things specifically to make Matt and me laugh. Dexter is willing to try new foods, and if it seems like during dinner he can make you laugh at that time by rubbing his hands through his hair, well darn it, he’s not going to let two food-covered hands stop him. We can successfully teach him some rudimentary skills, like pushing the different-shaped blocks into the holes of his sorter toy. He imitates noises and gestures and silly faces. Dex received some musical instruments for his birthday, and he likes playing his xylophone, banging his drum and chewing the end of his drumstick. He’s generally a happy kid who is in a good mood, and so much fun to be around.

Let me tell you about our mornings. I’m almost always up first (babies CHANGE THINGS) and get his bottle into hot water. Usually, I then get back into bed and Matt gets him out of the crib when the bottle is ready, lets Dexter push the button to turn off the noise machine, deposits him with me, leaves the socks he’s going to wear that day on the end of the bed (we’ll come back to this), then heads into the shower. Every now and then we go get him up together which he seems to find confusing. While Matt showers, we finish the bottle – I always expect to doze off but never do – then Dexter immediately gets up and crawls around the bed until he finds the socks. We play dumb games with them that usually involve me putting them on my head or his head and then him pulling them off, and then Dex crawls around on the bed, patting the headboard and giving me 2-second hugs, until Matt returns. Dex likes to play with Matt’s belt buckle while he’s getting dressed, and then while Matt sits on the bed to put on his shoes, Dexter gives his Daddy reassuring pats on the back. Like this:

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Flashback Friday

One year ago today, I posted online a photo of Dexter and me taken at 3:30 a.m. We had a full house – grandparents visiting – and he and I were the only ones up. He’s just finished nursing and was snuggled into me, so warm and tiny. See?

TeenyTinyDex

Today, as I’m driving to daycare to visit him, I remember this photo, and get all warm and fuzzy and really, really excited to see Dex. When I get there, I can’t immediately find him, and finally, one of the teachers says, “He’s behind you!”

I turn around and Dexter is lounging in the sunken area (which you might remember as The Furniture Pushin’ Gang’s preferred ledge over which to shove cribs), lazily swinging his legs in the air and grinning that grin he gets when he knows he’s pulled a fast one on mommy. Look: 

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Dexter’s Emoji Obsession

Dexter Emoji McDonald's Happy MealLast week, Dexter’s sweet teacher decided to treat herself to a Happy Meal for lunch. Believe me. SHE DESERVES IT.

She dug through the cardboard box, looking for her prize, and out it came: a small plush emoji, a yellow smiling face wearing sunglasses. I’m pretty old but I believe it stands for “cool.” (Also, it had a tag on it that read “cool.”)

Dexter immediately feel madly, deeply in love. He reached toward his teacher, begging her for the object of his affection. She handed it to him and he immediately, for some reason, put it in his mouth and began crawling around the daycare looking disturbingly like a dog with a chew-toy. (Add that to the list of things I didn’t know babies do until I had one. It’s getting to be quite the tome.) When she saw what she was doing, the teacher determined the cool tag was a choking risk and took the emoji from Dex to cut it off.

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Dexter’s Daycare Gang

FPGang (3)In order to survive the mean streets of daycare, my one-year-old son has joined a gang.

They call them The Furniture Pushin’ Gang. The members are Dexter, Camden, Jaxon and Mary Lou. (Names slightly changed to shield the not-so-innocent.)

Jaxon: the muscle, with the chunkiest thighs on planet Earth.

Camden: just started walking, so he brings that to the table, plus he grows hair at a rate hereby unseen on a baby – 4 haircuts by the time he was 7 months old and still going strong.

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