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Order: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday morning!

This morning I am joining writers from all over the globe in the Five Minute Friday link-up. Every week bloggers and social media writers gather to share a post on a common theme. This week our prompt is: Order.

If you have been following my family and I you know that we spent a month in England. Last Friday we made it home and we have spent the week resettling into our American lives. Jet lag hit us pretty hard. Those first few days we woke up with the sun at 4:45am, but then crashed by 5pm or 6pm. Each day we tried to sleep a little later and stay up a little longer to help get us regulated.

The one thing we did on Monday that helped bring order to our lives was a deep clean of our home. We needed to reconnect with our house and so we lifted the month’s worth of dust, cat hair, mess from the surfaces of the home and worked on bringing the house back to life.

Things that we take for granted while here are things we missed while away. I missed sitting in my writing spot looking out into the morning and the sunshine. I missed the way my cat rubs up against me as I write just to let me know that he’s there. I missed my slow cup of coffee in the morning.

Life in England was amazing. We always do so much and pack a year worth of memories into one month and it is such a blessing. Check out my recent posts about the trip and see that while we were gone we didn’t long for home–we were too busy and surrounded by loved ones for that. But once we arrived home I noticed how much I missed my routines.

Life is starting to fall back in place. There is an order to the home and our schedule is beginning to feel like normal. We are sleeping a normal 8 hour stretch and eating at times acceptable to society. Jet lag shook up the order in our lives a bit, but it seems that it has finally worn off.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Home Sweet Home and International Travel

Atop Spinnaker Tower in the Portsmouth Harbor

It was hard to say goodbye to our English family. To my squishy nephew. To afternoon tea. To comfortable weather. To streetside cafes. To Americano black from Costa. To endless Covid tests and Track and Trace calls–okay, maybe that last part is a lie. Nonetheless, to journey home always means many heartbreaking goodbyes.

We arrived back in Ohio on Thursday night after eighteen hours of travel.

The airports and flights were not crowded so the time we spent in terminals and on air crafts looked much different than our past experiences. If you are healthy and vaccinated now is the time to travel! On both of our international flights this summer we had entire rows on the plane to ourselves. Traveling economy class is a lot more enjoyable with the ability to spread out and relax.

Adjusting back to Eastern Standard Time back home has been difficult on all of us. We have been up with the sun at 4:30am and off to bed by 9pm at the latest. Coming home is always so much harder than our initial adjustments in England. All four of us are still experiencing jet lag, but will hopefully be fully charged in the next couple of days.

I have missed my friends, routines, coffee spots, and protein shakes. If you are looking for me this week I will likely be enjoying those things…or napping.

A cafe on the high street of Eastleigh with my husband’s aunties
Cafe breakfasts with Squishy
Getting her energy out at Logan International Airport (Boston)

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Summer: Five Minute Friday

I’m a little late this week, but I’m tagging in for this week’s Five Minute Friday link-up. Every week writers from all over the globe gather to write on a common theme. This week our prompt is Summer.

British summers are very different to back home in Ohio.

The temperatures are cool and the air is damp. Winds here are constant and each day we are teased by the chance of a shower or two. Most days I grab a cardigan or hat before heading out. I would compare a British summer to April/May in Ohio.

Don’t misunderstand–there are warmer days. There have been a couple of sunblock-worthy days here, but they are not consistent. Also, it’s no use planning your days according to the reports from local weathermen. No one has a clue how to predict rain on an island surrounded by sea. As my daughter would say, “You just go for it and hope for the best!”

We are headed to New Forest today, to the quaint British town of Lyndhurst. This is one of my favorite spots for a Cream Tea and so rain or shine, we will be venturing out to the horse meadows of the village and the cobbled streets of the town. I wouldn’t have to pack on the layers of warmer clothes back home, but while in England–best to be prepared.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Long Awaited Cousin Time

Because of Covid, my daughters had not met their 18 month-old English cousin yet. One of the highlights of this trip to England is giving them plenty of opportunities to make memories together. They are so in love–you can see it in the way they play together and smile. Here are some of the precious moments they have shared together so far this trip:

Cuddles on Grandad’s couch
Indoor tea party while we were still in quarantine
Chasing pigeons at the Winchester Cathedral
Getting loved on by sheep at Manor Farm
Stealing kisses and making each other giggle
Checking out the cows
Running away from the rain in the Itchen Valley woods
On his throne where he belongs
Only a few more years and they will be driving each other around
Up to no good in the woods
Working out on the cricket pitch in Royal Victoria Country Park

The Ameri Brit Mom

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PiYo Week 2 Recap

(This is a non affiliate post and based solely on my personal experience using the Beachbody PiYo program developed by Chalene Johnson. Results may vary.)

As I increased the rigor of my workouts this week I was met by the challenge of simultaneously experiencing jetlag from travel to England. For the first 8 days of the trip I am required to quarantine at my in law’s home. As far as finding time to work out, I am without excuse. I am pleased to say that the only day I did not work out during this second week was the day of my flight–which would’ve been quite impossible really. I did, however, complete some of my standard flight exercises to keep the blood flowing and logged over 10,000 airport steps navigating three different airports.

In my Week 1 post, I give more details about PiYo and the meal plans that accomodate the daily exercises. This time, I want to share with you the workout calendar for the entire 8 week program.

Major observations of this second week of PiYo:

-Sweat workouts were appropriately named as completing those high intensity regimens made me sweat more profusely than any workout I’ve done in a long time.

-The day after my flight I found it difficult to balance my body and so I struggled most on that day.

– I am doing my best to fit my workouts in every day while in England, but it has been challenging due to being in quarantine with all of my in-laws in the house and kiddos who need a lot of entertaining.

– It is also more challenging to eat according to a meal plan while away from your own kitchen and familiar foods.

-The 20-45 minute workouts each day have improved my attitude and outlook each day.

Now that I am nearly out of quarantine and settling into a routine in England I hope it will be easier to work out each day for the remainder of the trip. I don’t recommend starting a new program prior to a month abroad, but I’m determined to show that it isn’t impossible to stick with it when your health is such a high priority!

The Ameri Brit Mom

england, Uncategorized

England 2018: Week 4 Review

Now that we are back home in Ohio it is bittersweet to look back and reflect on our last days in England. Our month abroad was our best trip yet full of so many memories with our girls and family. Here’s a look at our first three weeks:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Our final week was full of good-byes and the emotions that come with knowing we won’t see loved ones for another year. Back home, a brand new adventure awaited us–our oldest starts kindergarten this week!

Despite the hassle of travel with two little ones and the canceled flights in Chicago on the way home (more on that in a future post!) spending a month in England each year is worth it.

Some Things We Did This Week:

-School supply shopping and a girl’s day in West Quay (Arianna is so excited to have supplies from England!)

-Sent my sister-in-law off on a month’s travel around Europe with a friend

-Participated in Story Time at the Eastleigh Library

-Visited with Sam’s aunt, Julie

-Broke down on the side of the road (punctured tire and overheated engine)

-Took Arianna on a two mile run around Fleming Park

-Visited Longdown Dairy Farm (Aleah was very interested in the ducks and even waved at them)

-Date night at Prezzos and to see Mama Mia 2 in the cinema

-Took another spin class

-Swam and relaxed at Mudeford Beach in the New Forest

-Attended a church service at Thrive

-Picnic at Itchen Valley Country Park

-Shopped for journal supplies at Hobby Craft

-Packed our suitcases 😦

Some Things We Ate This Week:

-kebabs

-Daim cake (my absolute favorite)

-several pub lunches

-Nandos

Milestones:

Arianna completed the Reading Challenge at the Eastleigh Library during our stay. She read six books in order to receive her award. Aleah started to wave in her own little way this week and she did it first while visiting the farm. She loved the ducks, goats, and chickens.

The Ameri Brit Mom

england, Uncategorized

England 2018: Week 3 Review

This week in England was a very unique one. We seldom get the opportunity to host friends from back home while in England, but this week our good friend, Tom, came to visit us and see what life is like for the English. It was a busy week as we tried to give Tom plenty of opportunities to explore Hampshire before he headed off to London on his own. Also, this was our last week with my sister-in-law as she is headed off on a European adventure.

Some Things We Did This Week:

-Swam at the Lymington Sea Water Baths where there were multiple inflatable courses.

-Went to Splashdown, an indoor water park in Poole

-Searched Eastleigh for a map to help Tom orient himself with Hampshire

-My husband, Tom, Kes, and Alan went on a late night excursion to watch the sun set in Portmouth. This trip involved an overheated car, a pub run, and a midnight search for a burger wagon.

-Toured the Winchester Cathedral

-Went kayaking in Woodmill

-Pet ponies in the New Forest

-Had a Cream Tea in Lyndhurst

-Visited the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth

-Toured The HMS Victory ship from the American Revolution, French Revolution, and Trafalgar Eras

-Ate a car picnic in front of the Southsea in Portsmouth

-Worshipped at Thrive Church

Some Things We Ate This Week:

-Fish’n’Chips at the Mayflower Pub (Lymington)

-New Forest Ice Cream in the New Forest

-Full English breakfast

-Curry dinner at Badhi Marchi

-Cream Tea (Coffee and Choc Chip Scones)

-Barbecue

-Roast Dinner at The Alma

-English Candy that we bought for Tom in a Welcome Basket

Milestones:

Arianna kayaked alone for the first time and saw her very first play, “The Gruffalo’s Child” in Winchester.

Aleah turned five months old and she is trying to sit up alone and is working on her upper body strength.

The Ameri Brit Mom

england, Link-Ups, Uncategorized

Thirteen: Five Minute Friday

I’m a little bit late this week with my Five Minute Friday post (I blame it on my all day excursion yesterday involving kayaking and cream teas.) Five Minute Friday is a weekly link-up where a community of bloggers crafts a post based on a common topic. This week the topic is Thirteen. Check out the rest of the community and their posts here. Now on to my five minutes of uninterrupted writing:

FF-Square-Images-Round-4-5

I’m starting to miss my home. A whole month abroad has been an endless supply of joy, but the longer I stay the more I begin to sense the familiar feeling of homesickness. I truly love being in England and spending time with people I love so dearly, but when I quiet my mind I start to crave the things that make up my life in America.

Friends, church, wide roads, American food, lemonade, driving, air conditioning, my house, and pets are all things I miss while traveling. But soon, I will have both feet on the ground in Ohio. Thirteen days and I’ll be back to the states.

For these last days I plan to soak up every moment in the UK. I have to get into one month a whole year’s worth of visits. I still have people to see, places to go, money to spend. I’m still looking forward to worshipping at our church in the UK, taking the girls shopping to spend their money that their great-Grandma gave them, having another play date with our close British friends, and eating a couple more roast dinners.

If you had thirteen days in the UK how would you spend them? What would you do?

The Ameri Brit Mom

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England 2018: Week 2 Review

My family and I are in the middle of our one month visit to England. My husband is from England and moved to America when he was 18 to play basketball. The rest of his family and his closest friends still live in England so every year we return to visit them. This week we stayed Monday-Friday with his dad, sister, and brother. On Saturday we stayed with his mom and went to the beach.

The longest heatwave in decades continued this week in the south of England. Since our arrival it has been warm and only rained over night. This weather is not typical of a summer in England, but we are taking full advantage of opportunities to be outside.

Being from Ohio this weather doesn’t bother me so much, however, the English are having a difficult time adjusting to temperatures in the high 80s. One challenge the warmth is causing in England is that the country is not equipped for the heat. Air conditioning only exists in supermarkets and large shops. The air is warm and stagnant at times and going inside to escape the heat doesn’t have the same effect as it does in Ohio.

Please don’t mistake my words. I am not complaining. Being able to go outside everyday has been a huge blessing. I prefer this weather to the usual cold and rainy summers we experience while visiting England. This is my twelfth visit to Eastleigh and we are doing so many things I’ve never done before since the weather is so gorgeous.

To see what we did the first week of our stay check out my post England: Week 1 Review.

Some things we did this week:

-Sam performed a Leavers Assembly at his old primary school.

-Went bowling as a family at Hollywood Bowl.

-Shopped at West Quay in Southampton

-Attended my sister-in-law’s graduation from the University of Portsmouth where she earned a degree in Graphic Design. We also had a barbecue that night with her friends.

-Played at an indoor soft-play area called Gambados

-Attempted to fly kites at Fleming Park, but it was a fail.

-Walked at Itchen Valley Country Park until we all nearly melted from the heat.

-Took our girls for a play date with their English besties.

-Met friends for lunch and coffee in Winchester (my favorite town here!)

-Went to the beach at West Wittering

-Attended church with my mother-in-law at Thrive Church in Eastleigh

-Completed a scavenger hunt activity at Manor Park

Some foods we ate this week:

-All You Can Eat buffet meal at Cosmos World Kitchen (Southampton)

-Kebabs (aka gyros)

-English breakfast

-Carribbean Jerk Chicken and a Passionfruit cooler at Turtle Bay (Winchester)

-Americano and brownies at the Coffee Lab (Winchester)

-Fruity waffles and ice cream

-English Roast Dinner

Milestones:

This week Aleah has perfected her roll from back to belly. She is now five months old! She also visited the beach for the first time and absolutely loved it. Both of my girls love the water! Arianna has been working on reading and getting better each day. I love watching her sit on Grandad’s lap reading books to him. Both girls also had alone time with each grandparent this week. This is something that is so special to them. Since they don’t see their English grandparents for eleven months out of the year it is so critical that they get time alone with them. Arianna cherishes the memories she makes with them and talks about them often when we are home.

The Ameri Brit Mom

england, Family, Uncategorized

England 2018: Week 1 Review

I cannot believe that we’ve been in the sunny UK for one week now. Packing a year worth of visits into one month really makes time fly. Watching the girls connect with their British family and heritage makes all of the hassle of travel worth it.

This first week was spent adjusting to the time difference and reacquainting our family with those we love in England. While here we stay with my father-in-law in the house where my husband grew up. Along with us for the week my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are also staying in the house. It’s a packed house, but we enjoy the company. We stay in Eastleigh which is a suburb of Southampton along the south coast of England.

A major difference between life in Eastleigh and our home in Ohio is that everything we could possibly need is within walking distance. We travel by foot as often as we can and we log well over 10,000 steps per day throughout our stays. It’s nice to have the option to travel by car, but with a metro center less than a mile from the house we take advantage of the opportunity to move our legs and get outside.

Life moves at a slower pace here. In America, life is packed so full. It’s the American way. But in England, most shops and venues close for the evening around 5pm. This encourages families to spend more time together in the home. We’ve done so much during the days while here, but our evenings are generally spent around the dinner table, playing games, and just hanging out with the people we love.

Some of the things we did during our first week:

-went to a new cinema in Southampton to catch the release of Uncle Drew (a basketball movie which was totally my husband’s choice)

-swam in the Fleming Park paddling pool

-signed Arianna up for her very own Eastleigh Library card

-swam at Romsey Rapids, an indoor water park

-participated in my first ever cycling class is Twyford

-met up with students and teachers from the school where I work. They are currently traveling abroad for a foreign language trip and part of their itinerary brought them to Portsmouth, a fifteen minute drive from Eastleigh. An added bonus, my cousin was on the trip!

-attended the Cheese Festival in Portsmouth and walked along the sea

-worshipped in the town square during the annual Eastleigh Churches Together service

-drove through the lovely New Forest to pick up my brother-in-law. (Side note: In the New Forest horses have free reign of the roads and town. Wild horses are beautiful!)

-shopped in Eastleigh’s Swan Center

-watched on television as England lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup

 

Some foods we’ve eaten:

-Cottage pie

-Fish’n’chips

-Traditional English Breakfast (fried egg, sausage, bacon, beans, chips)

-Paninis

-Lots of Costa coffee

-Traditional Roast Dinner

-Mac’n’Cheese waffle from the Cheese Festival

 

Milestones

My girls also had some big milestones during this first week. Arianna learned to ride a bike without training wheels. She enlisted the help of an elderly neighbor, but within thirty minutes she was off! I cannot believe how quickly she picked it up. Aleah started belly laughing and can now roll from her back to her belly. Aleah also splashed in the water at Romsey Rapids for the very first time.

I am looking forward to all we have planned over the next few weeks. I will share weekly recaps so stay tuned to see what all we get up to while staying with family in England.

The Ameri Brit Mom