Monday, 19 January 2015

How Long Until I'm British? - 7 Years in England

Today, the 19th of January, is always a special day. I don't celebrate per say, but always try to take note of it - it's the day I moved to England, 7 short years ago.

Last year I wrote the story of how, and why, I moved to London. If you haven't read it, please do, it brought back a fair few emotions for me.

I still can't believe I moved over (mostly) on my own at 19 years old. And I can't believe how much I've been through since then - some hardships, but overwhelmingly great, wonderful things.

I thought this year I'd commemorate the most 'American' things I've done/said in this short time, which have hit home that I most definitely am not British yet.

I was looking for a vodka mixer for a drinking-in-a-park-type event, and came across a huge bottle of orange squash (very potent cordial, meant for mixing 1 part with 10 parts water to make juice). Not knowing what squash was at the time, I drank a quarter of the bottle straight, then filled that quarter with vodka. The mixture of strong cordial and vodka made for a very ill Laura.

I too often pronounce names of things phonetically, instead of remembering the proud British tradition of inserting as many silent letters in words as humanly possible. Most made-fun-of examples include High Wycombe ('WY-COMB-BEE' if American, 'WIH-cum' if British), Gloucester Road ('Glow-chester' if American, 'Gloss-ter' if British) and Worchestershire ('War-CHES-ter-sheer' if American, 'Wuss-ter-shur' if British).

On numerous occasions at work I've had to get the phone number of a Scottish caller and have a colleague ring them back as I'm unable to understand them. Note, this happened much more frequently before I gained a Scottish mother-in-law!

Not knowing any better, in a family match I held a cricket bat like a baseball bat. Still not lived it down. Cricket is silly anyway.

Found a pub serving turkey sandwiches on Thanksgiving Day, in a sad attempt to not miss one of my favourite holidays.

I was very shocked to find out houses don't come standard with in-built sprinkler systems or outdoor house plugs - how does everyone plug in their Christmas lights?

I tried to get refills at a few restaurants in London before realising it's very rare here - which left me embarrassed and extra DC-less!!

Made numbers of Londoners uncomfortable by hugging them upon meeting and smiling and saying hi on the street - I soon learned that lesson after people started either crossing the road to avoid me or thought I was flirting with them! I once had someone follow me down a street winking at me because I'd smiled at him!

I think /hope that's it, that I haven't done that many other embarrassingly American things.

Here's to all the love and happiness that the UK has brought me, and another 7 here with my beautiful British friends and family!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Bisbee's First Day

My wonderful wife finally had a chance to sit down and put together our footage from Bisbee's first day. Our first journey was not at all as we expected and that is probably true of most days with our latest addition! While we have a lovable friendly puppy she's not a fan of what we would deem typical dog things just yet! She doesn't wolf down food, doesn't get super excited about walks and sticks her nose up at peanut butter! We are sure we'll find her favourites things before long but until then we'll have fun trying!

Check out the video here: Bisbee's first day!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Us and the Pup!

It has been almost a month since we welcomed Bisbee into our family and looking back on the impact it has had, we are still in shock. From the little things, such as not being able to just pop to the next room without a shadow to the bigger things like planning where you are going to be each day and who is looking after the puppy. There is so much to consider!

When we first got her!
That being said, the changes we see in her every week have been dramatic and while a month has seemed a while in training progress, it seems only yesterday that we brought home our furry bundle. We promised to keep the blog updated with our progress as a family of 3 and have so far failed dismally - apologies! With L job searching and a manic month at work for me, the days just fly by and our evenings are spent loving on Bisbee after missing her so much in the day.

However here are the highlights so far:

Week 1: This puppy is clever and willing to do tricks for food so with some roast chicken in hand and Youtube on the laptop we got to training. Our first tricks were learning her name, sit and high five. The sweetest thing is once she has them sorted she does them without command just to get attention. Is there anything sweeter than a puppy sitting at your feet trying to high five your leg?! I don't think so!

Our challenges have included night and house training. We have implemented an every hour trip outside to encourage her to only go outside but at some point in every day she has decided to go inside - so frustrating! Then the night training - this is the hardest, I have started setting my alarm every 2 and half hours and though we only tend to have one accident per night, it's one too many!

Oh and the love affair she has with stones, leaves and mud. We don't know if she likes the texture or likes the fact that it sees us chase her to get it out of her mouth! It's such a conundrum as we'd love to let her run around without us constantly saying no but we are worried that she will swallow something or eat something she shouldn't. It's a fine line though as chasing her with a stone in her mouth could lead to her swallowing it - it really is a team effort!

With Christmas right in the middle of this week we had my family come to visit and we can confirm our puppy is a floozy - seriously she will go to anyone willing to hug and fuss her and shamefully gives away kisses/licks that we thought she saved for us!

Week 2:  We are making progress with house training - we only had 2 accidents inside this week and she is learning to go to the door if she needs to go out. It means we have switched our trips outside to every 90 minutes but some trips descend into play time as she doesn't need to go. We have also started walks - only 20 minutes as we read that when puppies' bones are growing you shouldn't over do it! On walks we practice the latest tricks - wait and leave it! Perfect for waiting at roads and getting her not to pick up gross things. She is so happy when walking but strangely we always have to drag her out - she hates the harness.

She has also learnt the joy of car rides and as soon as we go out she will fall asleep in her basket, it is so sweet. Best of all she will stay that way while we shop - I mean, should we be offended that we can leave the car and she's not bothered?

We have also started leaving her for short periods of time as we thought it was best to get her used to it while she's young and sleeping a lot. We hide treats around the kitchen and her bed and she is normally so distracted we can slip out. You can tell she wakes up when we arrive back as she brings us her cutest yawns!

In other good news, the first trip to the vets was a breeze, she got treats after having her check up and then proceeded to charm the nurses - we couldn't get her to leave!

We are sad this week has to end though as this is our last chance to spend every minute (almost) of every day with her and we miss her when we leave for an hour! We are also nervous as night training is still not accident free yet!

Week 3: Bisbee the entertainer has joined us this week. She is on a rollercoaster of energy levels, either shooting around the garden like a nutter or so sleepy she can't lift her head. We have upped her food on the vet's advice - you can tell she is benefiting! This week I tried working from home 2 days and leaving her with my Mum for 3 days. It went well, although my Mum and Bisbee kept each other super excited and we were worried they both needed a rest at the end. Thankfully my Mum adores Bisbee and so far seems to be enjoying the crazy moments.

We started a diary last week to track how often Bisbee was going out to pee and I have to say it was the best thing we've done. Accidents this week have been non-existent and strangely in my Mum's house she sleeps 6 hours without needing to go. Unfortunately that isn't the case at home and after leaving a 3 hour gap we were left a present. It was disappointing knowing she can hold it but doesn't, however we will persevere!

New tricks this week include lying down, putting paws up if she wants to get up on the couch, dancing and going under my legs. She has now started lying down in the middle of the room - showing off I think but still cute!

Week 4: This week she has seemed less puppy and more dog - we are sleeping through the night and I don't remember the last accident in the house! She's also learnt fetch and 'okay' now seems to work as a way of getting her in. She has also got going out down to a fine art and is in and out much quicker - which is very welcome as it gets colder! However she has also learnt tug of war and will fight you for every slipper or sock she sneaks away or any branch she wants to chew!

Her time with my Mum has been even better this week, they both have been calmer and Bisbee has been on her very best behaviour for her Nanny Nutley. She even took her to the shops, to see the sleeping puppy first hand!

Our walks are also getting longer and while she still doesn't bound out the door, she now likes to walk ahead and she's even happy walking up to other dogs now. An afternoon in a dog park seemed to get her over her apprehension. She walked in a nervous puppy and walked out a playful puppy wanting to make friends - we were so proud! Her latest thing is running home though on walks, as soon as you say 'lets go back' she will have you sprinting for the door. Great for our diet/exercise plans, really not good for my Mum's bad back! It'll be next on our list to address I think!

So there you have it, our first month as dog owners. As I said EVERYTHING has changed and we love it! It is definitely not like having a baby - this is like having a toddler with its own opinions and own mind - but most importantly its own way of getting around! There is no leaving her in a cot or pram or sling and going about your day - nope, you are full on whenever she is awake and even when she's not you have to have one-eye on her as she has a way of getting to and chewing wires you swore you put away! I mean I have sworn she was asleep at my feet, checked on her every 10 minutes and yet lost my entire work laptop cable and phone cable to her mouth at separate times - she is a talented one and so quiet about it!

It is true that they have the same effect as having a baby though - the lack of sleep, the crying for attention (thankfully there isn't too much of that) but mostly the fact that they become all you can talk about! I mean I will talk about her even when it's not remotely relevant! I have attached Bisbee pics to customers, to colleagues to relatives! I don't remember the last time I took a photo on my phone that didn't include her. She's even in my FB profile pic - I am smitten and I couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

What We Love Wednesdays! Feeling the Love!

For those of you who have followed our story from the start of this blog you may remember we we used to do a 'What We Love Wednesday' every week. Things we love included everything from Whole Foods to Mustaches from Diet Coke to Powerful Women. I'm not sure why we stopped (time?) but on this Wednesday I thought I'd do a really quick 2015 kick-off  'What We Love Wednesday'!

If you want to check out the full list of old posts they are all here:

It is fair to say that 2015 will see a lot of changes and our biggest change to date is becoming a family of 3. Our latest addition has taken over our world and we are totally in love. So far raising Bisbee has taken complete team work so my first What I Love This Wednesday is this wonderful wife of mine who makes the best partner I could have asked for:

The second love is Bisbee, well right now a sleeping Bisbee as it's the only time I don't have to run around like a mad woman protecting her from things she shouldn't eat - I'm already a laptop cable down, the clever thing worked out if she kept jumping and pulling stuff from the table she could make everything fall and get to the cable of her dreams!

I'm also very grateful to our back up team, currently that's my Mum but we know over time that will include our other family members, neighbours, friends and doggy day care!

So the last What I Love goes to this wonderful system:

Through Skype calls we have been able to introduce Bisbee to her family around the world, now she knows her name it is so cute watching her figure out who is talking and seeing her react when she figures out it's the screen calling her.

I know we have spoken about how important this blog has been for us keeping family and friends updated but Skype really is our life line when it comes to feeling that much closer to loved ones that are just too far away!

So 2015 is definitely starting with a lot of love and we have to thank our little Bisbee for that, I never realised quite how quickly she would completely change everything but she has given us a positive focus to get through the challenging next few weeks.

Happy New Year everyone!