Sunday, 3 January 2010

2009: the Nappy Valley highlights

God I hate the first week of January. It really is my least favourite time of year. It's cold, it's windy, the time for over-indulging in food and drink is over and there's nothing to do but clear up the detritus of Christmas.

We have been spending the morning taking the Christmas tree down and packing away the Christmas decorations, stockings and left over wrapping paper. (Interesting finds nestling in the tree: a Lego cow, several forgotten chocolates and candy canes and a plastic Santa from who knows where). Littleboy 1 is having to finish his holiday homework, all of us having forgotten about it. Everyone goes back to school or work tomorrow (in my case, looking for freelance work, always horrible and too easy to put off in favour of browsing the supermarket, filing my bank statements or emailing my friends).

Of course, once tomorrow is over everything will settle back into its usual routine and everything will be fine, but just for today, it seems like Christmas is over and there's nothing to be excited about for the forseeable future.

So it's probably a good thing that I've been tagged - not once, but twice, by A Modern Mother and Motherhood the Final Frontier, to write about my highlights of 2009, rather than carry on moaning.

For me, the whole year was dominated by the Move to America, so if one thing stands out as a highlight it has to be that. Well, not the move itself, which was stressful beyond belief, nor even the first few days in the US, which were marred by a bad experience during our stay in Brooklyn (which for family reasons I can't go into on the blog), but the fact that we got here, we found a fantastic place to live and we've started making a life for ourselves - one that, so far, we are loving.

The months leading up to the Move are rather a blur to me but, thanks to re-reading my blog posts, a few things stand out.

1. Skiing in the French Alps in March. Two weeks of perfect sunny weather, perfect powdery snow and all-round enjoyment. Littleboy 1 learned to ski and we had a welcome break from packing.

2. My birthday present - a trip to A View from the Bridge in London -provided a chance to reflect on how I met The Doctor and how Arthur Miller played a part in our courtship.

3. A whirlwind trip to the Lake District for a family wedding. We left the boys with a babysitter and enjoyed an idyllic boat trip across the lake to the reception, followed by champagne and a sumptuous dinner on a stunning headland.

May was dominated by The Big Move, but although I didn't particularly blog about them, there were two significant things that also happened.

4. Our leaving do. The first time since our wedding that so many friends were together in one room. I spent hours compiling a playlist of New York-themed songs, and having failed to provide decorations for the pub room where we had it, we borrowed a poster of Obama from the barman for the occasion. It went far too quickly, and I didn't get to speak to everyone, but it was fun.

5. One of my oldest friends had a much-longed-for baby, conceived naturally after four years of trying and two rounds of IVF. I managed to see the newborn girl the day before we left London, in the midst of frantic packing.

In late May we arrived in America, and after a short stay in Brooklyn during which we found a house and a car, we had a couple of weeks to kill. While living out of a suitcase with two small children was not exactly fun, I did enjoy:

6. A road trip to Virginia, seeing The Doctor's American relations and staying in a cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains.

We moved to Long Island in June, and began our life here. Life has been full of new adventures since then, but the ones that stand out most are:

7. The fourth of July weekend. The first of many such Sundays spent on the beach, followed by an All American barbecue.

8. A trip to Connecticut in mid-October to see the fall colours. Beautiful countryside, a warm New England welcome, and the first time the boys have properly hiked with us.

9. Experiencing our first American Halloween, in particular the Littleboys' delight at trick or treating.

10. Christmas here with my sister and her children, including several trips into the delightfully Christmassy city, and walks in the deep snow that fell the weekend before.

I should probably continue the meme, but I think it's rather past its sell-by date now. But I'd love to know what your highlights were, if only in the comments box.

Happy New Year!


Jenny Rudd said...

my highlight was going back home to the UK for 9 whole, beautiful weeks during which time I went to my best friend's wedding (childless) and my brother married his lovely girlfriend in Salisbury cathedral. The real highlight though was that I actually wanted to fly back to New Zealand where we live at the end. It's been 2 hyears since we moved here and it's taken me 2 years to start feeling ok about living here. You sound like you've had a big year, I hope you enjoy this next one in America

alice said...

My 2009 consisted of 2 massive events - getting married and getting pregnant! Everything else paled in comparison :)

Liberty London Girl said...

OH God. I've still go to do my 2009 round up. Am putting it off! Yours was great tho. LLGxx

Expat mum said...

How could you forget your guest post on Pond Parleys??? (Just kidding)
Well done that girl. You seem to have packed an awful lot into one year!

Iota said...

You really have had an exciting year.

Yes, moving is really stressful. I'd forgotten that. It's over 3 years ago for us now, but just reading that word "stressful" helped me remember.

Good luck with the freelance search.

Home Office Mum said...

Sounds like a fantastic year. Here's to a brilliant 2010 in which you discover more US delights that you can share with us and make me jealous

A said...

It sounds like your move to the US is turning out to be a highlight!

Anonymous said...

That's quite a year! I loved your birthday present post, found it very moving. I was 36 in April 2009 too! I also have a child doing her homework right now because we completely forgot about it! Nightmare!

Anonymous said...

Writing up my 2009 highlights is on my to do list as well.

If I had to boil it down to one thing - well, it has got to be One Night in Rangoon really!

Happy New Year!

angels said...

Happy New Year! What a year you've just had. You sound as though you're living the American dream and really getting on with all the things that make the US so special, overblown pumpkins and all the rest of it. Highlights from your old neck of the woods include a move to our new house (what a difference a scrubby patch of grass makes to small boys and their mother) and a trip to New Zealand. Long way with teenies in tow, but a brother's wedding can only happen once (hopefully!). Anyway, what's not to like about friendly, wine- and beach-filled New Zealand?

nappy valley girl said...

Jenny - it's good when you go away and look forward to going home. I felt the same when we came back from Connecticut to Long Island.

Alice - those are two enormous milestones for one year. Well done!

LLG - thank you! Look forward to reading yours...

Expat Mum - Aha, I knew I'd left something out...

Iota - yes, stressful is definitely the word for moving country. In fact, I'm already starting to dread moving back....and it's still 2 and a half years away.

Home office Mum - well maybe you will have your own US adventure? Any news on that one?

A - yes, everything else does kind of pale in comparison.

Rosie - thank you! (And glad to hear that we are the same age - you always sound refreshingly young in your posts...)

Mud - well of course! That was definitely the highlight of your blog's to lots of sequels in 2010.

Angels - congrats on thew new house and very jealous of your trip to NZ - wonderful country.

Michelloui said...

I really enjoyed reading this post on your 2009 roundup! As a new follower its interesting to get to know you better. Im also married to a Dr so that part is interesting to me as well, of course. Well, not necessarily 'of course' but anyway. Perhaps you know what I mean!

Sadly, we dont have any plans to do 3 yrs in the States. We've thought that one day he might take a sabbatical and work in India for 6mo + just for a change of scene... Who knows.