From one pool to another

Summer in Denver means many things: outdoor jazz, outdoor movies and outdoor pools! That excitable exclamation point is 100% referring to the pool part. I get to do my lengths (a.k.a. laps) in the glorious sunshine with nothing between me and the clear blue sky.

How could you not be excited about swimming in this…

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My lunchtime swims here refresh me, revitalise me and make me feel like all is well. They also make me a better mum. Maybe it’s the rhythm of breathing. Maybe it’s the wonder of seeing how my hands make shadows on the bottom as each arm extends forward and then pulls underneath me. Maybe it’s the juicy feeling of water on my skin and sun on my back at the same time. It’s quite possibly the fact that I haven’t got anyone hanging off my leg for 30 peaceful minutes. Whatever it is, I love it.

Sadly, this is going to be my last summer of outdoor swims here. We’re moving to Cornwall, where I don’t think the indoor pools have quite the same effect.

However, I’ve found an alternative that I’m very, very excited about. Wild swimming! In the sea. The biggest pool of all! I imagine it’s going to come with some challenges, such as waves, saltiness, coldness, jellyfish and probably the odd floating poo, or things that look like poo. But it’s given me a focus to my swimming here (get stronger because the sea doesn’t allow for breaks every 25 metres) and I’m super excited to have a new way to explore our new home.

I’ve joined the local wild swimming group on Facebook, who seem like a welcoming, friendly bunch. They look out for each other and swim together regularly, so there should be plenty of opportunities to get wet.

Look at the kind of places they swim!

torre-abbey-sands

 

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Clearly the weather isn’t always going to be as nice as in these photos. And obviously finding time might be an issue – I have a hunch that settling into a new town/ country with a toddler and a preschooler is going to be pretty jam-packed with daily craziness. But I’m thinking we can incorporate it into family days out with hubs playing on the beach with the kids while I pop off for an invigorating dip.

A mum can dream!

 

I’m going to make a quilt

 

I love a good to-do list. The satisfaction of ticking things off and feeling productive.

I’m a big list person and I even do that silly thing of adding things I’ve already done just so I can cross them off and feel better. Yes, yes, I know!

Anyway, top of my list of things I want to do before we pack up and leave is use up my fabric stash. I’ve got big pieces that I bought for projects that never materialised and small scraps leftover from rare bursts of creativity.

So it’s time to put them all together and have a memento of our time in Denver. I was thinking of making one for the kids but that will only end in arguments when they’re old enough to fight about things like that. Instead, it’s going to be our family quilt that will live in whichever living room we find our lives revolving around.

I’m thinking stripes. Here are a few ideas I’m pondering:

stripey quilt

I like the backing on this one from s.o.t.a.k handmade

quilt

Mine will probably have a random color scheme like this one from Sarah‘s flickr stash

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This one from Film in the Fridge has patches and stripes – too ambitious?!

With Glastonbury to entertain me on TV, I’m going to have a wild and crazy friday night cutting my fabric and planning my stitchery. Rock n roll!

It’s all about perspective

Today I had to do some digging into potential British citizenship routes for the girls.

Why am I only just doing that when we’re planning to move home within a couple of months? Because I didn’t even think about how we would get them into the country as legal little people!

Yes, call me stupid. I’ve called myself stupid many times today. But just as my friend thought it would be ok to take her baby on a plane to Mexico without any kind of ticket because she was traveling on her lap (only to find out otherwise at check-in), until today I hadn’t really thought things through. What a donut!

Anyway, I’ll go into the ins and outs of citizenship in another post. What I want to share today is that just when I was feeling bogged down in red tape, I saw a heart-warming video that snapped me right out of it.

This mum’s smile helps me remember what’s really important in life …. living.

 

 

 

 

Moving home and moving on

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. And life has changed a little in the last couple of months. We now have a rough idea of when we’ll be moving home to the UK. From Colorado to Cornwall. From mountains to beaches. To the rainy place where granny and grandad live.

Yes, we’re uprooting our outdoor-loving American 3.5 year old (and baby, but she’s happy anywhere, as long as my boobs are available at the end of the day), selling most of our stuff, and moving closer to our family and lifelong friends.

Why Truro? Because even though it’s still 5 hours drive from any of my family, it’s somewhere new. It’s be a new way of life. It’s a step forward instead of a step back. And after living away from our homeland for so long (11 years, give or take a few short stints back to test the water) we need it to feel like progress, rather than slipping back in to where we left.

Are we mad? Possibly. Are we sad? A little bit.

Mr D and I have both found new passions here: him, mountain biking on the incredible network of gorgeous and challenging trails; me, dancing with the most fabulous teacher I could ever imagine having the fortune to find myself living near.

We’ve also got a wonderful circle of friends, super-awesome neighbours and a spacious, gorgeous house and garden. Seriously, when I go to the grocery store (aka supermarket), I always see at least a couple of people I know. Sometimes 5 or 6! We’ve only lived here for 5 years but the sense of community is strong in our area. There are tons of families and so many people have moved here from other places that if you start up a conversation with a stranger, chances are they’ll be happy to talk to someone who could become a potential friend.

I have no idea if there’s going to be there same kind of open-armed and open-hearted feel to Truro. I hope so.

P-nut will be starting school soon after we get there – that should provide plenty of opportunity for mum friends.

Mr D will be getting a job. Hopefully with interesting, welcoming colleagues.

I’m tired just thinking about everything we have to do to make this move happen. And at the moment, I’m only thinking about the to-do list for getting organised side of the world. After the craziness of giving up our life here, we have to start totally new with everything when we arrive. We won’t even have a kettle, let alone a car or a place to live.

I think it’s time to watch some TV and forget about it for the day.

Tomorrow I’ll write a list. A really bloody big one.

Night night x

 

Chuck-it-all-in-quinoa-salad

Recently, I’ve been working from my neighbour’s house to avoid the inevitable interruptions, squeals and general chaos of P-nut and Lou.

While there, I often have a nose in the fridge. Not because I want to steal their food. But because I’m nosey and I like to see what other people eat. Is that weird? I like to think of it as resourceful research.

The other day I spotted a tub full of cooked quinoa. Oh, how much easier this would make my lunches!

So today I cooked up a big batch, made a quick quinoa salad with whatever I had in the veggie drawer and stuck the rest in a pot ready for some quick and easy meal/ snack options over the next couple of days.

Here’s today’s Chuck-it-all-in-quinoa-salad.

Chuck-it-all-in-quinoa-salad

And here’s how I did it. (Pretty obvious, but I’m in the mood to write it out so here you go…)

  • Chuck some cooked quinoa into a big bowl
  • Add whatever cooked or raw veg you have around, in this case grated carrot, chopped celery. red cabbage, sundried tomatoes and roasted red pepper slices
  • Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and add a good glug of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper it to your taste. Ta-da!

Mine was served with a blob of cottage cheese and some sauerkraut. As well as being super tasty, it’s healthy and anti-candida friendly. That’s my kind of lunch.

Runamumorama

A couple of days ago, I was pretending to nap when I came across an article on my phone about something called the Advent Streak.

What initially caught my eye was the image of loads of naked people running on a beach. Now, there’s no way on earth I would run naked in public. Or run naked in my house for that matter. But the headline made it clear that this wasn’t about nudity. And it mentioned the word ‘Christmas’. I’m a sucker for Christmas so I clicked to read more.

The article was all about running. Committing to run every day of December until the big pressie and turkey fest.

Now, running is not my forte. I really don’t like running. But this sounded kind of easy. Ish. I could make my minimum distance as low as 1 mile. I’d run a 2 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving the day before and hadn’t collapsed. I was actually feeling sore from that, in an I’ve-used-my-muscles-again-and-it-feels-good kind of way. Besides the occasional flailing run for the bus, I hadn’t properly run for about 15 years. Dancing, yes. Hiking, yes. Yoga, tons of it. Surfing, badly but yes. Running, no.

Still, I was intrigued. I want to get fitter. I want to be able to run around with my kids and not be gasping for breath and turning beetroot red after 2 minutes. I’d also like to firm up my wobbly bits. So I joined the Facebook group mentioned in the article to find out more.

The Facebook group is a UK based bunch of mums and after joining and reading a few posts, their enthusiasm for running had me sold. I was excited! I introduced myself to the group and got the warmest welcome and loads of encouragement. I really felt like these women would help me complete the Advent Streak.

Today was the first run of my streak. It was great. My right headphone kept falling out so that kept my mind occupied for most of it. When I finally resigned myself to only listening through my left ear and brought my attention to the actual sensations of running, I found I was feeling pretty good.

I passed a few dog walkers and we nodded or said hi. Maybe they thought I was a real runner. If I’m out there running, that makes me a real runner! Wowsers. I’m a runner. Yeah! A one mile runner. Hmmm.

I’ve had loads more energy this afternoon since running. I’ve enjoyed reading the posts of other mums in the Facebook group. The support is incredible and their enthusiasm is infectious.

At a time when I was considering shirking Facebook because of its time-sapping, productivity-draining powers, it’s got me out pounding the pavement. Well, that and The Guardian.

Hooray for the internet. Hooray for mums cheering each other on. Hooray for legs.

And now for a bath.

Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out.

I’ve just realised how blogging makes me feel like I’m in Sex and the City. Seeing my words appear on the screen is just like seeing Carrie’s Manhattan musings. I feel like I should insert something witty or perhaps a rhetorical question here?

My life is nothing like Sex and the City. I live in Denver. I wear old clothes that don’t fit very well on my post-baby body. I have a messy house and I never go out to eat because I have a toddler who terrorises restaurants and a baby who goes to bed at 6.30pm. And I have nothing to wear to go out to dinner anyway. Most of my clothes are actually covered in dinner.

But still, I can channel a little bit of Carrie as I sit here tappety tapping because I scraped my hair up into a topknot and for once it looks just a tiny bit good.

I’ll take that.