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England 2022 Series (Pt 1)

Our family has made is safely to England and as we continue to adjust to the change in time, we have already experienced many adventures. We flew from Detroit to London Heathrow and despite rumors of delays and nightmares in UK airports, things went smoothly all the way through.

At this point in our trip, we have been to Eastleigh and Drayton. We’ve spent half the time with my father-in-law and the other half with my mother-in-law. Aunties came to visit in Drayton and we spent the weekend feasting with them. Already, we have visited two country parks: Staunton and Lakeside. Of course, we have stopped at nearly every playground we have passed on our pedestrian journies. Reuniting with family (and the girls’ COUSIN) has been a blast and I am thankful that our girls have not lost any time getting comfortable with life in the UK.

Week One Photos

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Trust: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday and my first weekend in the UK. I’ll be here throughout the entire month of July and so the next several FMF posts will be inspired by my travels abroad to spend time with family. This week our prompt is Trust.

When we travel abroad there is a wealth of trust we put in others. We trust that the pilot has been trained and knows the flight path well. We trust that TSA is completing the security checks to prevent dangerous people from embarking with us. We trust the airline to check our bags in correctly instead of damaging or losing our cargo. We trust customs officers to let us cross the border. We trust that taxis and trains are running on time to get us to our final destinations. All of this trust is to ensure that we are safely delivered and the mission completed.

Have you ever had a flight where trust was misplaced?

I’ve flown to England every year since 2007 and so I have a mental list of times when my expectations were not met by those I trusted to get me from Point A to Point B. I’ve had luggage lost. I’ve had to spend six hours on the tarmac. I’ve had flights delayed and flights cancelled.

Luckily, my most recent excursion was free from mishaps. My trust in the airlines and their personel was not betrayed (this time). And as I sit here, thinking about our journey from Columbus to Detroit and then to London, I am thankful that things went off without a hitch this time. These next few days will be spent adjusting to the five hour difference from EST. There will be lost of naps, exercises, and reading sessions to help my body adjust to moving ahead in time.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Guess: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday and if you’ve been here for a while you know that means Five Minute Friday! On Fridays, I join other writers from around the globe to publish a post inspired by the same topic. This week, our prompt is Guess.

Guess what is coming up soon?

The Ameri Brit Mom is gearing up for the annual trip to England. The name of this blog comes from the fact that I am American married to a British man. We spend one month every year visiting his family and friends back in his hometown. Our trip is just a couple of weeks away and I guess you could say that we are getting excited.

While in England, we usually end up traveling quite a bit. Our homebase is with my father-in-law in Eastleigh (a borough of Southampton). My mother-in-law lives in Portsmouth. My sister-in-law is in Yeovil. And there are various family members scattered throughout in places like Brighton and Dover. I will be doing my usual posts which showcase our journey and travels while in England.

Here are some posts from last year to get you excited about what’s to come:

Quarantine in UK

A Father’s Day English Cream Tea

Long Awaited Cousin Time

Summer in UK

The Ameri Brit Mom

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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

Family · Uncategorized

Fall Break 2018

The past week was Fall Break in the school district where my husband and I teach (and our daughter goes to school.) We were extremely busy during this week with traveling, hospital visits, big news, and family time.

Below is a look at all that happened during the past seven days (it’s all out of order, but I wanted to be creative with the word: FALL):

Flu struck the Sisley house! Days before our break began our oldest daughter was taken to the ER with a temperature of 105. I freaked out a little prematurely, but that was the first time I had ever read a number that high on a thermometer. A little hydration and medication went a long way to helping her feel better. The fever hung on for four days, but luckily she started acting back to normal much sooner.

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A trip to Niagara Falls, Canada, was the biggest part of our break. My sister moved to Canada to work at Brock University (more on that here) and so we loaded up the car, our passports, and tons of baby supplies and spent three days with her at her apartment. I really enjoyed getting to see her town and touring her campus. We also saw the falls, did the Journey Behind the Falls, and walked through the tourist district at Clifton Hill. The only thing I disliked about the trip was that the morning we drove up I woke to a high temperature myself. I spent the trip nursing the same flu that I caught from my daughter, but I tried not to let that keep me down.

 

Local tradition has it in my hometown that Pumpkins take over the city streets on the third week of each October. The Circleville Pumpkin Show is the Greatest Free Show on Earth. Before we embarked on our travels we made sure to spend a couple of hours at the festival eating Pumpkin-flavored baked goods and my personal favorite, bourbon chicken and rice.

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Love was in the air as my youngest sister got engaged at the beginning of the break. Her boyfriend proposed at Hocking Hills, which is a state park in Ohio. It’s a beautiful time of year there and I am so excited to plan her fall wedding at the same destination. I am also so excited to be gaining such a thoughtful and positive brother-in-law.

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Now you are caught up with us after Fall Break 2018!

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:

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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

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

Family · Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Worth

What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a link-up (which is equivalent to a Meet-and-Greet in the world of blogging.) Each week, the topic changes and participants are encouraged to take five minutes to write according to the prompt. Because you only have five minutes, posts are raw and unedited. Luckily, Five Minute Friday is a positive place and by joining the group you are giving yourself permission to step outside the confines of perfection. It’s a place to write from the heart and to be encouraged.

So here is my unedited post on this week’s topic, Worth:

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I’m sitting in a warm upstairs bedroom with the windows open and the sound of birds providing white noise. It’s 85 degrees Fahrenheit today in England and I’ve never been this warm in my life. Sure, in Ohio we have days much warmer, but air conditioning is not commonplace in this part of Europe. Most days are cool and rainy, but lucky us, we arrived during a heat wave. So as every part of my body drips with sweat and the promise of a cool indoors isn’t quite what it is in America, I stare at the netted drapes flowing with the breeze and count my blessings.

It’s all worth it.

It’s worth the hassle of international travel, and questions from border patrol. It’s worth the worry that accompanies me with traveling. I must admit as much as I love to visit new places and get outside of my hometown I do stress a bit when it comes to the actual travel part. It’s worth it to be a near-melted-mess as we walk through the town.

The minute my daughter stepped through the gate and spotted her English Grandad her face lit up. It was worth it. Seeing my mother-in-law and chatting about life made all the jet lag worth it. Sitting in this hot house trying to down glasses of squash (british juice) to stay hydrated is worth it. To make these memories and be with these people is why I put myself through the insanity of travel abroad.

Hello from the UK this week!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Family · Uncategorized

Road Trip to Pittsburgh

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My husband closed out his Upward Celebrations season with a trip to Bridgeville, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a family, we loaded up the car for the final time this winter and made the most of the four hour drive over two state borders and through several mountains. The landscape was beautiful throughout our entire drive.

I’m going to miss the traveling to new cities over the next couple of months, but I’m also in need of some rest. We are eager to return to our everyday rhythms and routines, but that doesn’t make us any less sad that our travel time is over.

On the trip, we stopped at a Chuck-E-Cheese so our daughter could experience the childhood equivalent to heaven on earth.

While Sam set up for the event I took our daughter exploring in the suburb. It was a beautiful little town, and of course we had to visit the local cafe. A four hour drive warranted a giant cup of coffee.

The travels may be over for a few months, but the memories we made as a family will continue long after his final bow. We are so blessed to get to travel together to support my husband in his shows. He is so passionate about using his gifts and talents to glorify God and he had almost a dozen opportunities to do just that over the past two months.

It is very fitting that as the shows wrapped up our school district began Spring Break. We are in need of some time at home as a family, although I’m sure you will hear that we took some time for adventure over the coming week. I’m looking forward to updating you next week on how we spent our break.

Send me some ideas and you may find that we take you up on some.

The Ameri Brit Mom