Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you all had a great break like we did and feel refreshed and ready to begin taking on the new year. Our Christmas break started with Mister Pick and I having a few days to ourselves, which is something we always look forward to (a lot). We went into Newcastle to shop, visit the Christmas market, have a fantastic lunch at The Botanist, and just had time to relax for a change. The following day was our mall day for shopping which completely exhausted us. We had dinner at Thaikun as it’s one of our favorites and we knew it would be a while before we could have a nice meal together on our own. We spent the next day at home watching Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny which really was pretty good, so I don’t know what the exact complaints were about it. That was us done for our proper break. Jack had to go back to the nursery for a bit on Friday, much to his disappointment, to do his first nativity play where he was the innkeeper. My heart was completely full. Saturday we went to the Elf Enchanted Journey at Whitehouse Farm for the first time and that was fantastic. We will definitely be doing that again and I really liked that we waited when we were all on break to have fun and get in the festive spirit. The next day, on Christmas Eve, we went to the Santa Breakfast at our local Tobey Carvery. It’s always a bit of a tough one when Jack is excited and we’re trying to keep him entertained while we eat, but it was a nice experience to say the least. I found it interesting that Jack usually won’t speak to Santa but at breakfast, he told him he wanted his Robot Doggy which he did receive on Christmas morning. (Santa said he’d seen the elves working on them too!) Then the rest of the break was us hanging out. Jack told us over and over again how he liked being home with us, playing with his toys, so we didn’t exhaust ourselves with more goings out. As part of Jack’s 4th birthday, we went to Locomotion to see the trains. The Flying Scotsman was there and I underestimated how busy the place would be because of that, but we eventually got through the parking lot traffic and in for a nice visit. I, of course, had two colds while we were on break and did have to work on the Saturday before New Year’s, but I survived. I was shattered from coughing so much one night and waking up around 3:30 in the morning (then going to work — always fun) but the two rest days after that helped a lot. And now I’ve been to work and taken the day off again to get all the tasks done that I wanted to get done. I’ve taken the Paw Patrol cake topper to the baker to get Jack’s party cake done this weekend. As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I’ve rejoined Slimming World and spent some time on the treadmill at my new gym. (Not to mention watching TV and sitting around with the dog which is not part of my resolutions but it’s worth it anyway.) I wish everyone a fantastic new year and a great start to 2024.
It’s autumn, November, cold, colorful, rainy, and on its way to winter. If we had experienced a nice summer, it wouldn’t be so unwelcome but it seems we’ve had nothing but wet, stay-indoors-type weather for months and months. Even in England, we usually get quite warm in July and August but no luck this year.
Now that it’s November, it’s time to get ready for our version of Thanksgiving here. Since there are some American-isms around here, I can get a hold of canned pumpkin for the most part and marshmallows for Steve’s sweet potato casserole (no thank you). We have a turkey joint, ready-made mash, chilled turkey gravy (again, if it’s available), boxed mac and cheese from Florida, brioche rolls, noodles, chicken, and my Schultz family oysters that I make with cheese Ritz and canned oysters. In The States I would have used fresh oysters and saltines but, alas, this is the way I have to make them here and since I’m the only one who eats them, it’s fine.
This also means we’re beginning to get ready for Christmas. Already we’ve taken Christmas photos and seen Santa at his workshop. We have lots of events to look forward to between now and the big day, then we have Jack’s 4th birthday soon after so birthday party invitations have been passed out at nursery. Last year there were quite a lot of children ill so they couldn’t attend his party, so I’m counting on this year having a better turnout.
Work is a bit up in the air these days and some changes in our schedules will occur that I anticipate. I’m hoping everyone adjusts well and we get along okay despite the disruption but, again, I’ll count on everything working out well. (That’s all you can do really.)
Well, it’s that time when we start getting ready to head back over the pond to visit my folks. As usual, I’m super excited but think what a pain it will be to get everything ready. But, alas, the excitement and prospect of being back in Florida far outweigh the annoyance of the tasks.
The main concern is taking a small child on the plane and into the parks. It’s one of those things that we’ll have to see how things go because either Jack will be absolutely fine and stay with us, or he will try to run off every two seconds and it won’t be worth spending the money on park tickets if no one can enjoy it.
Other than the parks, we have plenty of beaches and pools to keep us entertained. Obviously visiting and having family time is the most important, so I’m looking forward to all of that. Plus, it will be my birthday when we fly out so hooray!
I sadly have been neglecting my writing and reading. I’ve kind of accepted that it’s just going to be that way for a while until I have the time and the mental capacity to get back into it. I have ideas of YA book series as always but, alas, nothing started and/or nothing completed.
Instead, I’ve been obsessing about Mia Tui bags and have realized that it’s a whole thing where people show off their items on a Facebook group and even involve themselves in drama revolving around the owner and who she invited to the warehouse. There is a whole section of bags for sale on Facebook Marketplace as well so, by all means, if anyone is interested, go have a look.
Jack was off from nursery for two weeks in August, so we kept him as busy as possible. Now I’m keeping him home on the weekends to make double sure he’s well for the trip. All three of us have had an annoying cold for a while now.
Jack’s primary school applications opened too and I have very mixed feelings on the subject. It’s tough because I have to find a school that works with our work schedules, and is somewhere that I think Jack will be happy. That means a lot of visits in the near future and I have to narrow down my top three where I’d like him to go. I’d hate for him to be away from his little friends at nursery but I just don’t know if he can even get into some of the schools or how difficult it will be for us to manage if there’s no after-school club available.
I’ve already booked Christmas events and am looking forward to all of that. I should have a nice chunk of time off work if my leave is approved, so we can keep Jack busy then with winter-time fun. We have a train ride, Disney on Ice, Santa at Beamish Christmas Evenings, Santa at Redfox Garden Centre, Northern Lights in Leazes Park, and even Breakfast with Santa at Tobey Carvery.
I even have half a day off before Thanksgiving so I can feel semi-normal and keep to my American traditions.
And with that said, I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer. I usually love autumn but I am not interested in cold weather or warm clothes wearing again. Our British summer consisted of torrential downpours most days so I am not ready to transition into another season when we didn’t have much warm weather. But I’ll be on the beach soon with my tropical drink, so it’s all good.