Thursday, August 18, 2011

What our 2-year-old is like.

By Liv

Stella is now 2. People often ask me if time has flown by and I can honestly say that it hasn't. We've done so much in the last two years, we've crammed so many travels and adventures in the last 24 months that the time has not flown by. I remember all the places we've been and all the wonderful people we've met and I can't help but think that it feels like Stella should already be 10!

And let's be honest, she jabbers like a ten-year-old. This child can talk until you're sure there's nothing left to say, but still she'll say more! It's quite amazing to listen to. Even when I've had enough and I stop listening, she wanders over to the cat, Lucy, and starts a conversation with her!

Here are some milestones that our bambina has met, and I want to keep track of them so I never forget!

• She speaks in full sentences and says some of the funniest things I've ever heard! Some of my favorites are, "Lucy, don't cry. We'll be right back..." (Speaking to our cat when we are leaving the house.) "Mama, call the doctor!" (After any time she hurts herself.) "Oh hi, Daddy! So happy to see you!"

• She is potty trained! Well, she was trained at 22 months, so technically before she turned two, but who's counting? (I'd like credit for this amazing feat!)

• Stella loves to sing songs and can sing in perfect tune many of her favorites, including "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Ba-ba Black Sheep"

• Still has the tiniest feet in the world. She's still barely a child's size 4, so she looks like a little mini-person!

• Sleeps in her own big-girl bed in her own room.

There's so much more to say about my little love but I figure this is enough for now. We have really enjoyed watching her grow in the last two years and can't wait to share her milestones when she's three!

 Her new favorite thing is the jewelry her Abuelo gives her. For her second birthday, she got her first pair of fresh-water pearl earrings. She insists on wearing them every single day :)

Stella, Abuelo and Seren.


By Liv

I know what you're thinking, "Liv, when the heck did you go to Iceland? I thought you were living in Seattle now and are all settled?" Well, you're right. We ARE living in Seattle and we ARE settled, but over a month ago, when we left England to move back to America, we made a short stop in Iceland along the way. Call it our last adventure for a long time, if you will.

We stayed in Reykjavik, Iceland. We rented a beautifully renovated 1-bedroom apartment right near the center of town and settled in with our 8 checked bags and 4 carry-on bags that was the entire contents of our house in Oxford. Yes, 8 checked bags. Yes, 4 carry-ons. And a stroller. Crazy, I know.

Besides strolling through town and admiring how amazingly expensive everything in Iceland is, we spent some much-needed family time together and enjoyed the local zoo as well as the world-famous "Pylsur" (aka Hot Dog) stand that both Metallica and Bill Clinton once ate at.

Directly before our flight to Seattle, we made a day trip to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to have healing properties, too. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 98–102 °F.

We had an amazing time at the Lagoon and would highly recommend anyone who visits Iceland to make a stop there - especially right before your long international flight!

 This store, "Stella" sold only the craziest looking pantyhose you've ever seen.

 Riding the carousel at the Zoo.

 Enjoying Pylsur at the most famous Pylsur stand in all of Iceland.

 No sink is too small for this girl!

 The Blue Lagoon's milky blue waters were very warm and calming.

 It was like being at the biggest spa in the world!

The tiniest spa-goer...

The things I do and don't miss about living in Oxford.

By Liv

I know I've spouted on and on about how much I love(d) living in England. I really did love it. There were quite a few things that (now that we are back to the USA) I can honestly say that I do NOT miss about living in Oxford. Here are a few:

I do NOT miss: hang-drying all of our clothes, hearing all the goings-on and people walking past my house (i.e. drunken undegrads), Nick being away working on assignments for what seemed like 24/7, the never-ending bug problem in our flat (first moths, then spiders then slugs!), using a self-rigged shower (our bathtub didn't have a shower head but just a hand-held shower head that we had to rig to the ceiling so we could take a shower!) and not being able to call and chat with my American friends whenever I want.

But, the list of things that I DO miss is even longer. I DO miss being surrounded by academics, amazing architecture everywhere (it really looked like I was living in the Harry Potter movies), the hilarious British accents all around, making new friends that were all in the same situation together (i.e. starting from scratch in a brand new place), walking EVERYWHERE, having so many wonderful restaurants within walking distance - my favorite Indian restaurant of all time was only a block away!

Mostly, I miss the friends that we made during our stay in England. I will never forget them and hope that we stay in touch for a long time to come. Here are some photos from our last week in Oxford. Everyone really rallied together towards the end of our stay - and we ended up having more than one going away dinner, which was lovely. I wish we were heading back for Capstone and Graduation, but it doesn't look likely. For all our OX friends, please keep in touch! We miss you all :)

 Anas can really play the tennis-guitar!

 Laka and the gang put together a delicious home-cooked Indian going-away feast for me!
Lovely Laura and her precious son, Tenzing. Stella and Tenzing Skype almost every day :)
 Stella's best-buddy at their favorite spot: The Perch Restaurant in Oxford.

Fancy a spot of tea?