Friday, August 27, 2010

USA USA USA!!! It's time to go home (to visit)!

The time has come for the kids and I to make our first visit home in almost 8 months.  It was my first time flying with just myself and the kids and I was a little anxious about it but the kids did amazing.  I will admit that in hindsight I planned this flight poorly - I should have paid the extra $120 to do the shorter flight (by 4 hours!) but hey hindsight is 20/20 right?  But given the 12 hrs each way that we had committed to, the kids did amazing - on the plane. And given that there was (surprisingly) no in seat entertainment on the long flight (of 9 hrs) and I hadn't brought any DVDs thinking there would be, I have to give them a A for behavior on the plane.  In the airports were another story.  Touch touch touch, poke poke poke, hit poke hit... you know how it goes.  But we're home (in BCN) now and came out relatively unscathed! 

Liam was fascinated with Aidan's ipod.  For the trip back I got a headphone splitter so they could both listen without sharing the same headphones... lesson learned - should have done that BEFORE the trip out to Boston!

We got off the plane in Boston and both Aidan and I could barely control our excitement - total perma-grins on both of us.  Liam was excited to be done with the plane but I don't think he quite understood the impact of going home the way Aidan and I did.  We saw my parents as soon as we made it thru customs and it was an emotional reunion to say the least!! 

It just felt so good to be back home and in my familiar environment.  It was surreal, like I had never left... and yet there were differences.  My dad driving us... picking up my car in Attleboro (our car is still at our house even though someone is living in our house) but yet not going home.  I felt somewhat detached when I saw my house.  It was just a house and right now it's not where we live.  And I was actually ok with that for the first time since we moved.  It doesn't mean I don't miss it or my friends when I'm not there, but I'm ok with not being there for the time being I've realized.

The only "normal" thing was that of course, Liam puked in the car on the way back (this seems to be the new norm with him - he also puked in the car on the way back to BCN).  So we were home yet we weren't home.  That was most definitely a strange feeling.  I had worried about feeling like a visitor with my friends - that was most definitely not the case, but I felt like I was a visitor overall - living out of a suitcase for 2 weeks, hopping between friends and family and trying to fit everyone into a very short timeframe, and honestly that feeling at the end of just wanting to get back home.  Yes, you read that right.  Home...

Is this the home where I want to live forever?  By no means.  But home is truly where your heart is and my heart is with Josh and I missed him terribly while I was gone.  It's true, absence makes the heart grow fonder and I was looking forward to seeing him.  I also was anxious to get the kids back into a normal schedule and to sleep in my own bed again. 

So since we were home in the States for 2 weeks I should probably just skip to the highlights as I'm sure you don't want to hear about our day to day excursions - just know that it was a jam packed schedule.  It was exhilarating and yet exhausting! 
  • I drove a car for the first time in 7 months.  Ahhhh what a feeling!!!  I LOVE to drive!  However, on the flip side of this, I was surprised to realize I actually missed walking everywhere.  I felt like a lump.  Between eating constantly and driving everywhere I felt generally unhealthy.
  • We stayed with my parents.  It was the first time in 14 years that I had stayed with them (we all live in MA so there has been no need before now).  I loved getting the extra time to spend with them and just hanging out.  It was nice to be coddled for a bit too - thanks mom and dad for your wonderful hospitality!!  We had a really great time!
The boys sharing a bed at my parents. 
Typical brother, Aidan looks like he's got Liam in a choke hold. 
My dad is a big hobbyist and one of his favorite things to do is make these HUGE model airplanes.  The one Liam is flying is not one of his models (which usually span at least 4-5 feet) but they totally bonded over them!

Aidan loved flying airplanes too!!

Watching some tv with Papa
  • It took the kids about 3 days to get back into EST - the first night they were up at 3AM for the DAY!  This would not have been so bad but since we were staying outside our house I was concerned that they would wake the rest of the house.  However, my mom was up at 4AM for work and all bets were then off - they were up and running!!!  On the return back, they slept til 10 and 11 AM this that I could get used to!!!  However, it's 11PM as I write this and I still hear them up.
  • My first trip to the grocery store was an orgasmic experience.  All that food and variety.  I could have stayed there all day.  $140 later I was on my way with things to ship home (I made another visit as well - Josh will be "thrilled" when the packages arrive).  I will never under appreciate my grocery store in the US again when I move back. 
  • Josh afraid of my spending and with good reason... be afraid Josh, be very afraid!!  It did make me realize I have really curbed my shopping habits since I've lived in Spain and I actually felt a bit gluttonous about all my spending even though I know it's a one time (ok I'm coming back in Oct so two time) thing and I had months of shopping to make up for.  Did some school shopping for the kids and got myself a new pair of UGGS - yeah UGGS!!!!
  • Had several dinners and lunches with my close friends and family - loved seeing you all!!!!  And for those I missed, I'll hopefully see you in October!
  • Speaking of food - I ate a lot of it.  My favorites - chinese (first time since I left), steak, Hilliards, Cupcake Charlies, fabulous salads and BAGELS (specifically Cape Cod Bagels).  And a lot of it is on it's way back to BCN too :)  However, one of the things I realized is that it's not that the food in the US is so spectacular, it's not... it's got a whole lot more preservatives than what I eat over here as well.  It's that it's familiar. 
  • Spent some quality time on the cape with Josh's family.  We had a great time with Becky, Ray, Paul and Roisin out on the house float and on Devil's Foot.  It would have been Josh's perfect day and we missed having him with us big time that day!
The kids with Auntie Becky on the house float

He's so not my child...
Here is Aidan with Papa just off the house float - it's about 20-25 feet deep here!

Liam on the top of the house float with Papa

One of the views from the float

Liam and Uncle Ray have a serious chat...

Do I really need words here?

Devil's Foot Island - off WoodsHole... Aidan ate a jellyfish while we were here.  Thankfully he knows which ones sting (pink/red with tentacles) and which ones don't (clear ones).

View from Devil's Foot

With Papa on Devil's Foot

View of the house float - this is the best invention ever and from what I've read there are only two places that have these - WoodsHole and Seattle... love this place!

Aidan on top of the float

Even Liam went in... again, can't possible be my kid!!!

Aunt Ellen came down to visit and Josh's cousin Conor with his family.  Aidan got to meet some of his cousins which he loved!!

I wonder if Liam and Uncle Ray discussed their attire before our lunch???

The boys with Uncle Ray

  • The kids spent time with their Uncle Jay and Auntie Katie... an FYI to Jay and Katie - when you have kids, you will need to feed them :)  However, this did make for a good laugh and the kids had a great time...The kids can't wait to come visit again!
Aidan with Uncle Jay
Playing video games at Uncle Jay's and Auntie Katie's... one of their favorite things to do!
Thumbs up to a great sleepover at Uncle Jay's!
Liam had a great time too!!!
Check out those eyes!!!
  • We went to Southwicks' Zoo - our favorite zoo - with my friend Sue and her kids Aby and Caleb.  We started out at Wright's Dairy Farm where we had delicious breakfast food and got to see a newborn calf which the kids really enjoyed!
Newborn baby calf at Wright's Dairy Farm
Awww best buds, for now
Liam, Aby, Aidan & Caleb

At the petting zoo

Liam and Caleb loved the snakes the best!

Token camel picture!

This would have been a super seet picture if only Aidan wasn't making a goofy face!

Taking the train ride thru the Elk and Moose Forest

The kids chasing the deer away...

One deer finally lets the kids near him... poor deer!

Caleb "May the Force Be with You" Harris... and token zebra shot of course!

  • Also spent some really great days with my neighbor friends and the kids' friends.  We were really looking forward to this time and made some really great memories to take back with us.  It was a great feeling also just picking up where we left off - that to me says I've got some amazing friends back home :)  The kids absolutely didn't want to leave their friends and I think in that way they were bummed about coming back. 
Liam takes a ride on the hammock with his best buds Caleb and Aaron
Ice cream dinner!!!!  Nate, Aidan, Aby & Lindsey!
    Liam and Aaron
    Nate, Aidan and Aaron - so cute!
    No one gets between Liam and his ice cream!
    Liam and his girlfriend, Ashley Rose
    After ice cream dinner we went to the park - a great way to work off that ice cream!
    One of my favorite shots from the entire trip!!! 
    Liam and Caleb playing at a bbq the Anastasia's held when we got back!
    He looks absolutely thrilled here...
    Having fun in the pool!
    Even Liam jumps in for some fun!!
    My cousin Meghan made Aidan a cake for his homecoming... when asked what kind of cake he wanted his response "I'd like a Super Mario Wii cake, World 5, the Jungle World"
    Aidan, Meghan, Sarah and Liam with the Mario cake
    Caleb tries to eat his cookies...thru his nose
    Aidan & Liam on the swingset.  Debbi & Colin - Happy 5th Birthday to Colin!
    Slight pool injury...
    Happy kids!! Mairead, Lindsey, Ashley & Liam
    There were some wrestling matches at the bbq and I think some of the big kids were slightly surprised at what a brute Liam is!!!
    My sweet Lindsey!!!
    Getting ready for the "drive in" movie on the back of the garage...
    Liam enjoying the movie!
    Drive in movie!
    It's hot tub time!
    Mmmmm shrimp...
    Hearth n Kettle for breakfast the morning after the bbq... yum!
    Saying goodbye after breakfast - see you next year!
    Forgot how much the kids and I love a good playground and there is NO better playground than the one at Mullen Hall in Falmouth.  This playground rocks all playgrounds anywhere that I have ever seen!
    Aidan wanted his picture taken outside CrabApples after breakfast.  I think both he and the flag make it rather patriotic and an ode to our trip back to the States!
    Mullen Hall playground - this picture doesn't even capture the whole thing - it's truly awesome!
    Fireman's pole
    Goal this year - learn to pump!
    Aidan and Auntie Becky
    Future GAP model????
    He loved how his hair got staticky on the slide!
  • I think this transition back to BCN will go better than anticipated.  It's not "new" anymore to any of us.  Aidan jumped right back into his routine in our apartment and hasn't mentioned wanting to go home home (as he calls it...BCN is home but Attleboro is home home) yet.  He knows he'll go to school next week and is looking forward to seeing his new friends again that he hasn't seen all summer.  I know he misses his old friends but it's good to know he can balance both worlds in a sense.
  • Something I realized I truly like about Barcelona.  The pace of life here.  I feel less pressured here.  The moment I go to the US I felt pressured not just with all I needed to do but with the pace of life.  Go go go... constantly.  Here, maybe it's because we have fewer friends and no family, but we aren't overscheduled and we just take each day as it comes.  We work hard as we've always done but the pressure feels different here.  I also think we have better quality time as a family (that definitely comes from having less friends and no, I don't plan to give up any of my friends at home - it's just an observation!).  I also feel less pressured with work in Barcelona - being 6 hours ahead has it's advantages.  Not that I sleep in often (not with kids!), but I don't worry so much about getting online the moment I wake up (though turning on my computer is still the first thing I do when I come downstairs) because I know I have a 6 hr buffer before any of my clients are online and need answers or information. 
  • Most importantly, I have learned that the kids will drive me crazy no matter what country we are in...
I'd like to say thank you to everyone at home that made our vacation so amazing!  It felt so amazingly good to be back home even for just 2 weeks.  I feel refreshed and renewed and ready to take on the world.  And I wouldn't be feeling like that if you guys weren't supporting me along the way.  You are the most amazing people and I'm lucky to have you on my team!!!


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