Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Summer, 2009

It has been a long summer. Notice the ommission of the word 'hot'. Now it is autumn. Leaves are changing, fires at night and the heaters on!

But to the past summer...after June we had a gorgeous few weeks of proper warmth here in the UK, which is really more like a spring day in Texas or Mexico. July and August were wet and chilly. But there were a few days of sun, as you can see from the pics of the allotment. Speaking of the allotment, it never ceases to amaze me that a few hard hours of labor can basically feed a family!!

In late July, we headed up to the Highlands of Scotland for Paul's best friend's 40th birthday celebration. Maya and I drove on our own to Scotland and Paul rode up with the birthday boy on motorcycles. Maya and I stuck to the main motorways of the country and had a rather epic journey together....I totally have no fear now of travelling alone with her. As long as I am armed with dark chocolate and a portable DVD player. She did very well considering she was a newly potty trained 2 year old strapped into her seat for 9 hours. We did get stuck in some major traffic jams and, to those of you who have driven in the UK may understand, a pile up between Birmingham and Manchester is not the place you want to be with a child in your car, let alone by yourself. We were completely stuck. And all I can say is thank you lord jesus, baby jesus, mary, mohammad, buddha, ganesha and all the others for the film Madagascar and the technology to let it play over and over again.

The Highlands of Scotland are a place to behold. Intensly ancient and filled with the heaviness of history, the geography is like nothing else and the people are a breed apart. Maya and I stopped after the first day's drive in Stirling - the sight of the notorious Battle of Stirling and Falkirk. After the two of us had a pub experience together at 9:30 on a Friday night in Scotland, we awoke to sunshine and beauty. I still had five more hours with her in the car...so, in my infinite wisdom, decided to climb to the top of William Wallace's memorial.

(See here for details http://www.nationalwallacemonument.com/)

It is a bit of a climb and, on the way up, I regaled Maya with the story of William Wallace, aka, Braveheart. She was fascinated and kept repeating 'the bad king' and the 'hero of scotchland'. As I mentioned, it is a bit of a climb, and we had to stop for her to rest, every 15 minutes or so. So at the stops, I would point up to the memorial and tell her of the gigantic sword that was inside...she kept on moving. We got to the top and, lo and behold, there was a battle re-enactment occuring. Wow, imagine that! Maya was well impressed and watched with huge eyes that took it all in. At the end, one of the footsoldiers came over and chatted with her, asking her if she knew who William Wallace was? 'The hero of Scotchland!' she said with absolute resolution. He was impressed and wanted to keep her. I almost agreed.

After her morning on the memorial, she was conked and slept in the car til after lunch. I crept thru the intense traffic up the roads to the Highlands of Scotland. The week in the house with Peter and his friends was a good fun. It will have to be repeated. We saw real Highland Games, rode an old steam-engine train and took some amazing walks.

August was cold and rainy, with a few sunny days, but nothing to write home about. Maya had some good times in friends' back gardens and down at the allotment. She is becoming quite the nudist who likes digging for worms. There were a few times when I turned around to check on her at the allotment and she was as naked as the day she was born covered in mud.

We did get beautiful weather for the International Bristol Balloon Festival. There were firsts for many of us. Maya's first lift off, with 66 hot air balloons taking off and floating over the surrounding hills. A first ride on a merry-go-round, a first lollipop, and the first fireworks. She loved every single minute. And so did we. Lucy was over from London with Sam, her 2 year old. The 2 of them became fast friends and hopefully will be for life. Such a wonderful experience for all of us to share. If any of you ever get a chance, the Balloon Festival is something to behold, and if you get good weather, an amazing experience.

September was all about sunshine and friends, berry picking, cider festivals, festivals in general and pub walking. First we had Carla, then Sandra, then Carla again, then Margarita, then Debbie. We saw some beautiful sights and had some yummy picnics. We ate lots of berries, made tons of jam and sampled a few nice real ales. Being a tour guide is not the easiest thing in the world with a 2 year old, but like everything in life - it is all about timing.

Sadly, it was Debbie's last visit to the Mill House, where she has been our permanent guest for the past 3 years, sort of like a yoga teacher in-residence. She has traveled all over the world and it seems she needed to come to rest. She will be missed and I am sure will be a part of our next adventure. Thank you to Carla, Sandra and Margarita for coming to see us and spend some time in England. I hope you enjoyed your trips....

This summer also was good for Maya truly letting go of her babyhood and entering the realm of the 'TODDLER'. She is potty-trained, sleeping in a big girl bed and without the pacifier, all in about a 2 month period. And then we got the full brunt of what is called 'the terrible 2's'. Lord in heaven, hear my prayers. Our perfect little girl has turned into a bona-fide psychotic egomaniac. Sometimes I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then, other times, it is completely black. I take each hour as it comes; there is no method to the madness. I only hope we will make it thru without Child Protective Services getting involved. Most of you have been in this place, so any advice you have to offer, please send our way!

As for myself, I seem to have passed thru the crossroads taking the right direction. Two Mercury retrogrades in the past 2.5 months have not been easy. For those of you who are not astrologically aware or suspicious, then let's just say I have been in a bit of a funk. But, all is well, it has passed, and I look to the future with bright anticipation.

Paul's company looks like it will survive the 'current crisis' and steer clear of bankruptcy. Amazing how things can change with just one little phone call. The next six months will be all about laying down tracks for the new horizons.

Sorry for the very long delay in writing, will try not to be so stuck in the future...
Love and light, kat, paul and maya

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Maya is 2!

So, it has been a long time, once again. The spring and beginning of summer have been pretty good here in the UK. The big news is that Maya turned 2! We had big plans of going camping with all of our friends, but the weather put a damper on it all. However, the three of us were able to get away for one night before the weather turned damp and cold. You can see the pics from above that we managed to get a nice walk in, some swinging, sitting in the river and some beautiful views. Maya loved being outdoors and having a fire. Although she did have her own tent, she ended up sleeping with us. Not surprising considering the novelty of it all. She was well impressed with her Daddy's homemade swing in the trees. And I was impressed with his ability to sit, swing and sip beer all at the same time. she loved it all and has proven to be a good walker and camper. Now, if we can get her to carry all her own gear we can do some serious primitive camping deep in the woods!

As for her actual birthday, all of our friends who were going to come along for the weekend, ended up at our house for a big bbq. (The bbq was a homage to my late friend Dwayne May, the best man on the grill ever, you will be missed my brother, RIP) As you can see from the video above, Maya helped out with the cupcakes!

May was big month for visitors. We went to lots of new places in the UK, one of which was Lacock Abbey, where they filmed some of the Harry Potter movies...and Maya was well impressed. Mostly with the sound of her own voices echoing in the cloisters! Thank you to Grace and Chirs for coming, Maya loved your visits and wants you come back soon!

One of our biggest projects so far, has been our allotment. An allotment - to all of you who are in the dark- is basically a plot of land that you rent from your local government. You can grow whatever you like, but they are manily used for vegetables. They are quite hard to come by these days and we were lucky enough to be allowed to help out with a friend's. It is quite a bit of work in the beginning, but the results, we hope, will prove worth the work. So far we have planted, potatoes, onions, garlic, broad beans, french beans, runner beans, sweet peas, beetroots, chard, spinach, and some berries in a fruit cage. We also have cilantro, chives, basil and parsley! Maya loves going down to water and to weed. She walks around and chats with all the other gardeners around, breaking the ice for me to ask for helpful hints. I guess our biggest problem is slugs. Since we use NO pesticides, it is quite a conundrum. Everyone who has gardens worthy of green envy all say the same - 'slug pellets'- for which I and Jayne (our friend we are working with) reply- 'no worms'! (Slug pellets do work, but the end result is you have no worms in your dirt, bad for healthy plants) I have tried the 'organic' version of slug pellets which, apparently do allow the worms life, and they are not doing the trick. So for now, after also trying holly, ash, hoeing and beer, I am at a loss. Knowing that when global warming catches up with us and we are no longer here to do battle with the elements, it will not only be the lowly cockroach living, but the even lowlier SLUG alive and well.

Maya is turning into a very funny, very talkative, very confident toddler. As all parents do, we think she is the cutest thing to behold. Although, she does have her moments; I think they are called the terrible 2's. But, luckily, she puts herself in time out and cries it out. Saying that, there are no places for time out in the grocery store. Hard one to figure out what to do when she loses it on aisle 2.

Paul is keeping his head above the water line in the times we have. Would not be telling the truth if I said we were not struggling with it all. But, we have our health, our happiness, and most of all, the best 2 year old in the world.

We miss you all- and send you loads of love and light, Kat, Paul and Maya.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Maya went to Texas, Mexico and all she got was-

SOOOOOO..we are back and recovered fully from our jet lag, back into the swing of things in the UK. First, let me say we are very sorry that we did not get to see all of you whilst we were in Texas and Mexico. And second, thank you to all who made time and effort to come and see us, we loved seeing you!

The flight over was a good as could be expected and her adjustment to Texas time was relatively easy. She went to visit alot of folks and we spent so much time in the car, as you do in Texas. We pushed her little limits, but- all in all, I have to say that Maya proves, once again, to be a very good traveler.

It was so wonderful for me to see her with friends and family. She made some new friends and saw some old ones too. It is such a good feeling to know the generations of cousins will keep going...she and my sister's son, Charlie, will have a long future of Chirstmas's together I am sure. My family was all together for the 1st time in 6 years. It was very special and a huge effort on my mom's part, So THANK YOU KATY! 11 people and 5 dogs- 4 of which are HUGE. Needless to say, Maya loves a crowd and big dogs now. We spent New Year's Eve in Galveston with one of my best friends Wendy and her new family. And that was fantastic. Then, we traveled up to Austin to spend some time with Uncle Matt (Tio) and Aunt Jennifer (Tia). Seeing old friends, eating fajitas outside and just catching up with everyone seemed to be the order of the day. Maya got to go and feed some cows, drive around in a very big truck and eat lots of food, the order of the day in Texas. Mommy and Daddy were right there with her - every step of the way, well, with a beer in hand.

Then it was off to Mexico and sooooo needed. We had a wonderful time. As you can see from the photos above, like myself, Maya is a true little beach bunny. She now says, 'beach -clothes off' everytime she sees a picture of the beach now. There is nothing like just building sandcastles with your baby and watching the sun set every night. Magic. While in Mexico, Paul became someone's saviour. He rescued and helped the man in the above photo,Angelo. This wonderful Italian man was spending his holiday in Mexico and went for a swim, as you do - in the grand Pacific. Well, that day was a big one and one gigantic wave found him threw him around to hard and too much. Luckily, Paul is well versed with back/neck injuries and helped him thru the ordeal. We had to wait to for 2.5 hours for the ambulance to come out the Troncones, and needless to say, Eva was not happy at all, but that is a different story. Anyway, Angelo survivied and we have a new friend. The next posting you see might just be Maya in Italy.

We missed our family and friends here in the UK so much, it is good to be back. Maya will be 2 soon, the time just flies as they say. I am loving every day with her and cherish every new word and every new discovery. Well, not the 'NO's and the 'MINE's' but she is turning into a happy little person who always wants to make you laugh. She is a true little explorer on her own and I think that her confidence just soared from this trip. She loves a little adventure. Hmm, I wonder where she gets it from....

Love and light to all, Kat, Paul and Maya.