A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

They came, they saw,they loved
(in more ways than one)

I can't believe that its been two weeks now since my Mom and Aunt left to go back to Canada.

What a whirlwind of a ride it was having them here. Everybody knows that I never, ever had the expectation that my Mom, Gina would make the journey to come and visit me in the UK. Mom is the best, I couldn't ask for a better mother, but travelling by air is not her most favourite way to go. Because she has such an amazing, wonderful sister, Anita who was brave enough to accompany her, they finally made the decision to come. Once they arrived, they realized that it isn't as hard as some people make it out to be, travelling overseas. Mom is now saying that I don't live as far away as all that... and better yet, she will be back. Both of them have said this :)

Looking at Tower Bridge from the Tower of London

I love to hear everything Mom has had to say, both whilst she was here, and since she has gone home. We had so many moments of laughter and yes, a few tears. But only tears of joy. I think it has made my mother feel so much better seeing what my life is like here in Britain, and meeting my friends and extended family (she had already met my in-laws and step-sons of course). But to actually see how I live, and how joyfully we do so, gives her some peace.

At the Splash

The fact that our families gel so well means the world to me, probably even more so to Andy. I could never have chosen for myself a husband who was not accepted by my parents, nor whose parents were not accepting of myself. And vice-versa. Families are so important and life is to short to be wasted on people who think they are better than others. Andy and I originally chose each other passionately, but tread very cautiously where our families were concerned and because of this we have not had to deal with belittlement within our blended family.

Mom, Wendy and Aunt Nita at the Family Garden Party - I'm framing this one

A few highlights from the Holiday:

- Waiting joyfully at (the surprisingly uncrowded) Terminal 3 Heathrow Airport for the ladies to arrive. Not being able to wait for them once they walked out of the arrivals gate before running down to embrace both Aunt Anita and Mom.

- Just seeing the awe on their faces as they took in all the strange sights of a new country... the smaller, enclosed spaces, but with so many more people, the cars with steering wheels on the opposite side, and cars being driven on the other side. Never mind the looks on their faces when confronted with Buckingham Palace and the Crown Jewels. Their eyes were a bit welled with tears, just the same as mine had originally been. I know what they were thinking: How much Mom (my beloved Nanny) would have loved to have seen all this.

- The moment when Aunt Nita and I went to pay for our pub meal in London and Aunt Nita pulled out some notes, and then a bag of lose change Uncle Gordon had sent with her. 'Will this help?' as she handed me the clear baggy. I started to count out the money when I realized something wasn't right. I looked closer: these were no £ coins I was used to... they were shillings! The old English currency that was outdated sometime in the sixties I think. Let me tell you, we roared over that one.

- Mom's joy upon seeing where I lived, here in the outskirts of Grimsby, the house, the boys (and how they'd grown in 3 years), and of course, my baby Molly. The love between Molly and her two 'Nana's' was instantaneous. Why wouldn't it be?

- The arrival of Carol-Anne on the Friday, who gelled immediately with both women, Aunt Nita especially: I think the two of them spent more time laughing and crying than all of us combined.

- The time spent in the kitchen as Mom, Aunt Nita and Carol-Anne churned out delicious food night after night, especially for the BBQ we held on Saturday Eve. Aunt Nita's Asian Slaw is a hit now not only in Canada, but in the UK. Recipes have been emailed out as per request. I don't know how many chocolate chip oatmeal cookies Mom turned out, but me and the boys were so grateful. Sorry, but they were shared with no one else. I know Aunt Nita made at least three apricot cakes made with Philly Cheese, and if it weren't for the fact I need to be eating healthily, I would be attempting to make it myself. We've already gone through what they'd frozen for 'later'.

The four of us gals spent at least a few hours sitting at the dinning room table talking, laughing, drinking endless cups of tea, coffee, wine, breezers, etc. and better yet, swapping recipes.

- And then there were the days out: Lincoln Castle and Cathedral, Chatsworth House, York, for a ride through the countryside on a steam-engined train.

Boarding the Steam Train

Molly and her Nana's ready to get going :)

The Cheeky Two

The Journey Back...

The only disappointment of the whole journey was the beautiful day we went for a train ride and and ventured to Robin's Hood Bay on the way back. The weather had turned by then: the wind was up and the tide was in - right in. So no walk on the beach.

Robin Hood's Bay

But I was so proud of the ladies for making the hike back up to the car-park, because if you know Robin Hood's Bay, you know that is some hill. Stopping in for hot chocolate and scones didn't hurt, nor the fact that Molly was happy to assist in 'pulling' both women up the hill.

Also, the small outings, but still filled with fun and excitment: Taking the ladies to church on a Sunday morning and then sunning ourselves in the garden afterwards, consuming Mango breezers, listening to Johnnie Reed and calling the Aunties back home; the usual trips to the local pubs and some further afield like The Splash; the walks on the beach and in Hubbards Hills. They truly loved it all.

- Seeing how happy everyone was when together, be it with my family or friends:

The night of the BBQ was terrific, having mom and Aunt Nita laughing and singing with Irish Paul, and mom flirting with Lord Ady Sanderson (Sarah's husband) and both of them openly giving cuddles all around.

The day of the family Garden Party at Wendy's, especially when Mom and Anita finally got to meet Claire, something they were so eager for, and then the joy on her face when she realized all that they'd brought for her; watching Connor run around with his Dad's Canon, pretending to be the paparazzi; listening to Uncle Brian tease Aunt Nita and to have Aunt Mavis tell her stories.

It's all been brilliant, the way everyone embraced each other, just like I knew they would.

I couldn't stop smiling, and still haven't.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back from Hiatus

I realize its been an awfully long time since I last posted. Initially my reasoning was that there wasn't much to talk about, then of course I had a visit from my beautiful mom and Aunt and naturally there will be loads to post about, but I'm still trying to sift through a multitude of photos, etc.

This last week has been a strange one, with a number of occurrences:

Some not so good:

I've come down with an awful bad spasm in my back that has been making every day life a little unbearable for me, and what's worse, its stopping me from going to the gym which I'd really love to be doing if not just for the exercise, but to keep my mind off missing my mom and Aunt Nita. As most of you also know, Polar, our little family dog back home, had to be put down last Friday. Its going to be so strange to go home this summer and not have him there, even though I've known this was coming for such a long time and said my goodbyes when I was home last year.

Some very good:

Our little romeo Connor turned 13 on Monday. To think of how fast the past six years have gone is unreal - I remember being with him when he celebrated his 8th birthday. Connor is such a sweet, unbelievably funny young man, with a knack for bringing a smile to the face of everyone he encounters. I wonder what the next few years have in store for us, considering the fact he has already brought more than one pretty young lass to our house, and has a penchant for causing mischief. But honestly, what's to be expected from a lad who could not only charm the birds out of the sky, but has such big blue eyes and a mop of unruly golden curls to match said personality? He still doesn't shy away from giving big hugs to his old step-mom and hopefully it will last a little longer. I have to publish these two photos though, the first one because it is such a family favourite, and the second, because it captures his personality brilliantly and shows what a shining star he is.

On Tuesday, Andy's brother Adi and his lovely wife Zoe welcomed one of the most beautiful baby boys I have ever seen into the world. Archie James weighed in at 7.15 and only put his momma through 4.5 hours of labour. Which was deserved really, after the hellish time they have gone through to have a child. On a lighter note though, I often think that if Andy and I were to ever have a baby and it was a girl, I would be so tempted to call her Veronica. This is probably a witticism only North Americans would understand ;) .