Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Back to School, Day 2

The college coed returned to classes on August 29, and the 10th grader got back into the school groove the following day. Have I mentioned lately how much I love uniforms, because I really, really do. 

Ollie the cairn goes to doggie daycare every week, so nothing new there. He continues to be tagged in pics that I can access on the daycare website. It's a dream schedule - recess the whole time he's there!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Starting Senior Year

I'm taking a moment to brag on my oldest, the college coed. She's wrapping up rush this week, her third going into the history books. She and her sorority sisters have shown up two weeks before classes start every August to learn songs and skits and prep for a week before welcoming freshman women to Greek life on the campuses of her colleges in South Carolina and Texas.

She has participated in a worthwhile philanthropy and made some great friends along the way, all while maintaining a strong 3.8 GPA. We're so proud of her accomplishments and can't wait to see the next chapter of her life unfold as she takes the GRE next month and begins applying to graduate programs. FYI - she's on the far right in all three pictures!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Toes in the Sand

If I was being honest, the title would be sand tracked into the beach house by kids. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time with our friends enjoying a bit of a break at Texas' Port Aransas. We were a total of three adults and eight kids, ages 10-21, that enjoyed some time at the coast during our first week back home to visit family and friends in July.

The house we rented was large and lovely, less than a 2 minute walk to the surf. The little development where we rented had all of the properties painted in fun beach colours. There was plenty of room for everyone to spread out and be comfortable all week.

We rented a six seater beach buggy for the kids to entertain themselves. They hit the souvenir shops and local eateries. It's so nice to have licensed drivers in the mix so we don't have to schlep them everywhere.

To break up the stay, we went into Corpus with our herd for a visit to the Texas State Aquarium. The husband and I have taken our girls many times before. They appeared to be in the middle of a big expansion, so we'll undoubtedly have to visit once it's finished.

All of the kids got along swimmingly (couldn't resist!) and were very well-behaved. Best part of every day was going out for a leisurely dinner with these two amazing ladies because I always enjoy spending time with them. I've been friends with one since 8th grade and the other one for 15 years. I'm so happy they were able to join us for the week to reconnect and relax.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back to the Real World, Expat Housewife Version

So a lot has happened since my last post. The couples only Mekong River cruise was AMAZING. Great boat, great itinerary, great sightseeing. I could have done without the heat and humidity, of course, but it was all part and parcel of the experience. 

I got a new passport on Wednesday that's gonna let me leave the UK next month for a little trip to Munich's Oktoberfest, and it was returned to me in record time. Very impressive, US embassy in London.

The other big news is that we're buying property back in Texas for our eventual return. It's exciting to contemplate the build of a custom home. Getting exactly what I like and want (I may let the husband have a bit of input, too) will undoubtedly blow my little mind, and I'm looking forward to beginning that process at some point. 

I'll be dashing off some new posts here in the blogosphere this next week once I finally get the Asia pics downloaded from the good camera. In the meantime, I must say my thoughts and wishes are with all of the teachers and kiddos back in Texas returning to the classroom. I'm living the dream here in England, but I still miss my calling. Happy thought - it will still be there when I return to Texas and pick up where I left off in the teaching trenches. 

In the meantime, enjoy this meme I found. Momcation 2016-17 kicks off for me next Tuesday when the younger daughter starts 10th grade on August 30th. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hittin' the Road... AGAIN!

This will be my last post for July. The husband and I are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary today by hopping a plane to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to  enjoy a cruise on the Mekong River. The college coed is back at university for second summer session, the 10th grader is hanging with the grandparents in Texas and the dog/house will be in the capable hands of our cleaning lady over the course of the next 12 days. Time for me and my better half to soak up some Asian culture.

Here are some of my favourite travel memes I'm sharing. See y'all on the flipside in August!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Zee Ladies Trip to Paree

We returned from Africa Tuesday morning, then turned around and went to Paris on Friday with the 21 and 15 yr old daughters. We've all been before, of course, but we still had a good time taking in the usual iconic sites. We walked a 10K on Saturday and enjoyed delicious meals at Laduree as well as Cafe de Flore. 

The coed met up with one of her best friends from college that is studying abroad in Rennes, France, this summer. Both of our rooms had a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower, but one had a darling terrace we really enjoyed.

Our Eurostar train trip was delayed, both departing and returning, due to an earlier train that stalled on the tracks and migrants at Calais that got past the barriers and were blocking the chunnel entrance.

Two things in Paris that caught my attention - all of the locks removed from the famous Pont des Arts bridge since the metal grilles were replaced with plexiglass, and several Asian women having their bridal portraits taken in front of Parisian icons like the Louvre and Notre Dame.

Monday, July 4, 2016

South African Lodge, Days 7-10

We spent the rest of our time at a hunting lodge in the Lephalale region in the northern part of South Africa. We were in tents with one amenity I really appreciated - electric blankets for chilly nights. However, the outdoor shower was NOT appreciated since it got down into the 50s when the sun went down, so I was a reluctant bather. 

The girls were assigned a tent within the inner fence, while the husband and I had a tent outside of the fence. The same area where wild critters can roam. Every night I'd brandish my little flashlight in search of the beady eyes of the resident rhino, Bucks. He wasn't a bad sort, just big and scary. And territorial about his food when he forced a standoff and we all quickly backed down when we realised he thought we posed some threat to the alfalfa they throw out for him every couple days. 

While at the lodge for the hunters in our group to do their thing, we went for a cruise on the Limpopo River, took a game drive in the Shelanti Animal Reserve, and just enjoyed relaxing in the lovely common areas of the lodge. The weenie dog Milo was a favourite. I was a fan until the overconfident little brat raced out to bark at and dance around the dangerous feet of the rhino. Good grief, it was tense and I kept waiting to hear the crunch of Milo underfoot. The kids were shouting for Milo to back off, and he finally did. 

I didn't film Milo aggravating the rhino because I was using my hands to cover up my eyes, but I did catch the rhino running some wildebeests away from his alfalfa earlier in the day. He was a big guy, but pretty swift on his feet as he whips around.


All of the other animals that had gathered for some grub gave Bucks the rhino a wide berth when he wanted it. As always, the warthogs made me giggle, rushing around with their tails straight up in the air like antennas.


Below is a pic of most of our safari group. Per the usual, it was a small world. We traveled thousands of miles from our homes in England and Texas to run across two other families, one from Dallas and the other San Antonio, staying at the same lodge. 

Pretty flowers, but get a load of those thorns.

Milo, the lodge's resident weenie dog, challenged a sable the day before it took on the rhino. The sable was not impressed.

The warthogs, kneeling to eat, were comical. They'd swivel around on their knees in search of food on the ground. 

Thank heavens the fire ants back home in Texas don't have the same mound construction abilities as the termites in Africa!

Best part of returning to South Africa - no mosquitos! The weather was just perfect, blue skies and mild temps the entire time. Late one evening, we walked over to see what critters might have wandered up to the area where they put out food and we saw a large meteor shoot across a big expanse of the sky before it burned out.