Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Manor

 So sorry it took so long to post pictures of where we live, but I've finally gotten around to it.

And here it is!  This is all ours!!  Just kidding… ;)
But this is the manor that is on the grounds we live on.  This used to be a single home for a wealthy family back in the day that was converted into a hotel, and then converted into beautiful flats.  Every flat is uniquely different to fit the spaces inside and are completely updated.  There are also several other buildings/houses on the grounds that have names like "The Granary" and "The Beeches".  We live in a free standing house called "The Hayloft"that is directly behind the manor.  We love it here because the grounds are so beautiful, and all the people we've met so far have been so nice. So far we've met people from Mexico City, Uruguay, Romania, and Italy.  We are sort of a melting pot here, and we love that.

The gardner, named Mic, is the sweetest old man ever!  He does such an amazing job keeping up the grounds, and he's been extremely helpful to us getting acquainted here.  Besides all the beautiful gardens, there is also a separate building that houses a gym we can use, and this whole place is gated.

We've been finding sweet little walking paths...

…and secret hiding places (they are fixing this bridge).  It is every child's dream!

There are also benches, picnic tables, chairs, fountains and even a life size chess game to play.  It feels like we are on vacation!

Ryan is dying to climb this tree.

I can't wait to see this place in full bloom this summer.

This is the drive in to our house.

Here's a video that I quickly snapped while driving to our house.  Sorry it's so bumpy!

I've showed these before but this is our house, "The Hayloft".

"The Granary" house is right next door (out of shot).

Unfortunately, last week while I was home with Maggie I started to smell fire.  It didn't concern me at first because the gardner will sometimes burn wood out back.  Then is got stronger, and I heard a loud bang which I thought sounded like a firework going off.  That's what prompted me to look out our windows, and that is when I saw this.
Right across from our house, the manor was on fire!  Just about that time I saw some residents coming out of the manor to see what was going on.  Some workers that happened to be there ran off to call the fire department.

It just started spreading so quickly!

Just a few days earlier, we had taken pictures from our master bedroom balcony that points to the exact same spot.  So you can see how close it was.

About that time was when I realized that the fire wasn't going to be easily put out.  So I grabbed a few things and put Maggie in the car to get out of the way of the smoke since the wind was blowing it right at us.  That is our house in the middle just to the right of the manor.

The fire spread so fast.  You can't even see our place now.

Here's a picture we took just a few days before from a bridge on the grounds pointing at the place where the fire started.  Our house is to the right.

Same spot with the fire going.  It was definitely scary.  Since Maggie was sick with an upper respiratory infection we left pretty quickly and headed over to our friend's house.  Thank the Lord we had them because Ryan was in London for work!!  

Later that day I went back to collect a few more things because I realized that we would not be able to sleep there that night.  When I got there, there were firetrucks as far as the eye could see and every road leading here was blocked off.  12 fire stations and 50 firefighters where called here to put out the blaze. They setup a relief center for the residents at a local high school near by.

The fire was still going but contained enough that a firefighter was able to take me back to my house to get a few things for Maggie.  This is a side view of the manor.

View from our balcony.  The fire was so big that it destroyed 40% of this building and made the BBC News, link here.  I was interviewed by two fire investigators and interviewed by a radio station, link here.  They still don't know what started the fire but they are speculating it had something to do with the electrical wires.  Everyone in the manor had to move out and the only people left on the grounds are the people living in the free standing houses.  We were lucky because we just had a little bit of smoke in the house that was easily aired out, and had no damage.  The Lord was definitely looking out for us.  We were able to go back to our house the next day in the afternoon when the final firetruck left.

Arial shots of the damage taken from this site here.

Arial shots of the damage taken from this site here.

It's crazy because from the front you can hardly tell anything happened here because most of the damage is in the back.

It will probably take at least a year before anyone can move back in and at least 2 years until it is all repaired.  Very sad that this happened but luckily no residents were hurt.  There was one firefighter that had to be taken to the hospital but he is doing fine now.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

11 Months Old

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I am in major denial that my baby is turning one next month.  How is it that I am going to be a parent of a one year old??  It's scary but oh so fun at the same time.  Each and every month brings new joys and excitement.  This little girl pretty much melts me everyday with her sweet little personality.  Can I just bottle her up right now and keep her like this forever?

This last month has been another whirlwind.  We settled into our new home, we all got sick (twice), dealt with a fire on the property (more to come on that) and tried to get out a bit.  Last week we met up with my friend, Cait, in Leicester to have another girls day.  And tomorrow, Ryan's parents are coming into town.  We can't freaking wait!!!

As far as Maggie goes, her fourth tooth came in while she was sick (of course).  So now she has two bottom and two top teeth.  She is working on her upper right lateral incisor now.  This past month I feel like her personality is really coming through.  It's been so fun playing with her and making her laugh.  I'm just going to let these pictures do the talking as her personality is coming through them.  :)

She likes making this new face all the time and whispers as she does it.

I could just eat her up!  This one has never met a stranger.

Pretty blurry but I included it because you can see her upper teeth (sort of).

She loves the noses on all her stuffed animals.  Apparently, they are pretty fascinating.

Love this one.  Ryan threw the bunny next to her to try and keep her happy while I was snapping away, and she snuggled right up to it.

These are just a few pics from my phone this past month.
I was trying to get a picture of her standing but had it on the square setting so it didn't capture much.  It cracks me up, because she just throws her hands up in the air as if to say, "look at me!".

Loves her books, and really loves to "read" them herself.

This is the head tilt that she does all the time.  I guess this is more of a body tilt here, but she does this to get a laugh.  Such a comedian!

She experienced her first Valentine's day.  I now have some competition for Ryan's affection on Vday. ;)

A little Vday spirit, and making homemade Valentines.  I can't wait to do this every year with her!

The best shot I could get with my little Valentine.

On Valentine's day we watched these two adorable little girls so that our friends could have a date night.  So thankful that we have each other to do this sort of thing.  (Maggie loves hair if you couldn't tell.)

Whenever it's not raining we try and get out for family walks.  I can't wait for the gorgeous summer everyone keeps talking about!

This last one is of Mags the morning after we had to take a trip to the hospital in the middle of the night for a high fever which caused her to shake.  :(  I guess we had to test out the NHS system here eventually but not in the middle of the night!  Poor thing.  She is still getting over whatever it is that got her sick.  Definitely looking forward to all of us being healthy again so we can get back to exploring!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Oh Hello!

Time to catch up!  I've been offline for a little bit because my power cord broke on my laptop, then we moved, then it took a little while for our internet to be setup at the house, and then we've just been getting settled!  I am hopefully back on track now.  So I'm just going to dump some photos from this past month or so to get back to present time.  :)

While were were still living in our temporary flat in Warwick, Maggie & I did a lot of walking and exploring.
One of the entrances to the castle.  We've purchased a yearly family pass here.  So we will be back a lot!

View of the castle on one of our walks.  I'm so excited to see how gorgeous it will look in the spring & summer when everything is blooming!

The church in the center of town that is the tallest structure.

Mag's & I walking to the castle.

We are lucky enough to have our good friends, Cait & Josh, visit us a couple of times now.

We are also extremely blessed to have another family, from back in Bartlesville, move to Warwick at the same time as us.  So we've definitely been spending a lot of time with them.

Oh… and I've been doing a tad bit of shopping… Mostly for Maggie of course.  ;)

We visited Coventry (a neighboring town) to hit up the ginormous IKEA.

Took several walks around the Warwick racecourse.  

Moved into our new home!!!

I will definitely be posting all about this place soon.  It's worthy of it's own post.

LOVE the British house keys here.

Getting used to a smaller washing machine that is also a dryer…  Maggie tries to be "helpful".

We live on some gorgeous grounds that I will also be posting about along with the house soon!

We have been celebrating February with lots of love (and Valentine outfits).

Also, have been a little home sick.  Just click those ruby red slippers Mags!

Cait, Maggie & I explored Nottingham one day.  You know you're a good friend when you share the "load". ;)

Maggie has been so amazing with all the exploring and being in new places.  Ever since we moved into our house, she has been sleeping through the night again.  Holla!  We've also been to Stratford Upon Avon where Shakespeare was born.

Maggie's new playroom has been setup.

I finally joined a gym that has a nursery.  This was the first time I dropped her off.  I've never left her with anyone beside my mom or MIL, so this was a HUGE deal for me.  Luckily, I'm in the same building, and Maggie LOVES it.  She gets so excited every time we go there now, and the ladies that work there are so sweet.  

Last pic.  Had to include this of my little Valentine.