An Open Letter to England

Dear England,

The past two years we’ve been living in the United Kingdom have been tremendous. We are forever grateful for the experiences we have had and the beautiful friends we have made. There is something truly special about Europe. It might be the history or the culture, or maybe the exquisite landscape.

Living in the “country” has spoiled us. Walking to town daily, where everything was at our fingertips. I haven’t even needed a car.

Never again in our lives will we have this type of experience. We took a total leap of faith when we picked up and moved to England. We had bumps in the road, as anyone would when adjusting to such a massive experience, but we have come out as a stronger family.

A family. How can this place not mean something special to us? This is where we had our first child. Now that was an experience in and of itself.

We grew as a family and also as individuals. Andrew and I learned something new about ourselves here, as we were not the locals. I’ve never been more proud to be an American, and I’ve never had such respect for other countries. Sharing customs and learning new ones has been a joy.

Our worldly view has changed and until you live abroad we will never be able to truly explain what this experience has meant. We came in green to international living and we are leaving with a greater knowledge of cultures.

I am thankful for everything living in England has shown me. It’s emotional and I am sure there will be days where I’ll look back in disbelief that I lived abroad.

Thank you England for being kind and welcoming us with open arms. The memories, the mates we have made will truly last a lifetime.

There isn’t a good way to sum up these past years; all we can do is smile at everything that has happened on this incredible island.














Photo Of The Week

Indiana Jones took the maiden voyage across the pond today. Ryder is already missing his buddy, and me saying “puppy, no” about 1,000 times. Love my boys.


Making Bank

This weekend was absostinkinlutely brilliant. England’s on to us. I soaked up every ounce of Shropshire.

The hills are a magnificent shade of green, sprinkled with little lambs. The rapeseed fields are the brightest yellow. Mr Crayola must have lived here. Simply can’t describe the beauty and colours.

Our tans have returned!

I found myself getting emotional about leaving. It’s crazy to think our time, our adventure, is winding down. We are going back to some of our favourite spots. The weather is perfect and now we get to show Ryder. It’s been bizarre to think we’ve lived in England. We have experienced such a dynamic, beautiful culture, and we made the best memories.

With the few days we have left in our cute, unique, English townhome, we are slowing down. Enjoying the crazy hours of daylight, the long walks around town on the Severn river, the best local markets and shops.

We are going to be gutted to leave this place, with no time to rest as we jump right into sorting our next home.

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The Floor Is Now Open To Questions

People actually read this? I hardly ever make any sense. I’m working on a revamp.

Bless you. If you’re stuck in traffic, waiting in line for coffee, or accidentally trying to load Facebook and it took too long, here’s some answers to the q’s we’ve been getting about our big move.

PaulBunyanFlat_8641) Where? Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Before you’re thinking, Huh?, EdP was recognized by MONEY Magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live” in America, a few years in a row. I’m aware it gets a boatload of snow. It also gets proper sunshine and WARM weather. Sorted. We’re used to the Midwest lifestyle and were very fond of our time in Michigan.

Why is Eden Prairie No. 1 this year? Not only is it family-friendly, it has a dynamite economy too…there’s plenty of outer beauty: from gently rolling hills to 17 lakes that residents flock to year-round for swimming and ice skating. Town parks are laced with 125 miles of running, hiking, and biking trails. No wonder residents rank among the healthiest people in the nation. Add in top-notch schools and safe streets and you’ve got a place that’s tough to beat.

1) Is Ryder a US citizen? Yes, the coconut is proud to be an Americano. The citizenship process was lengthy, and wasn’t easy. The U.S. Embassy was strict, we went through piles of paperwork and interviews. We sorted his citizenship a few months ago all to secure his passport. Remember our trip to London?

2) Why did Ryder have two months to leave the country? When I crossed international waters with the babe to the US, unbeknownst to us, we took away his citizenship. England’s immigration department gave us a big fat warm welcome when we landed from the U.S. We were told Rye would need a visa or had two months to leave the country; two months was due to the fact that Andrew and I are on visas. After much research and phone calls, the visa process for Ryder would have been lengthy, expensive, and not guaranteed. We had no choice but to start looking for other alternatives.

3) Why can’t it be fixed to how it’s supposed to be? It is what it is as this point. There’s a reason U.S. customer service is the best. See #2.

3) Where are you moving back? The hus is continuing to work with his current company in Minneapolis. Funny, I missed Target so much he moved me to their headquarters. I missed malls, well we’re going to THE Mall of America. Trading one distinct accent for another.

4) When are you moving back? The maiden voyage is in early June; stopping in Atlanta as we wait for our goods to float back across the Atlantic. I knew moving internationally again would be hard, but it’s exciting and I’m embracing the packed schedule. Wine does wonders.

5) Are you a little happy you’re coming back? Loaded question. England has been tremendous. The friends we’ve made, the experiences, the places we’ve seen. I’ll miss being on the doorstep to the most beautiful places in the world. It’s time though to start getting our lives back in order in the U.S. We sold a lot of goods and we need time to build back up our assets. I do prefer a one and half hour flight away from family as opposed to 10+ and a time change.

It’s overwhelming at times. Sad tissues, happy tissues. At first I was highly skeptical of MN, but weighing all of our options, this move is the best for our family. Now it’s time to embrace all the challenges and changes. Life with Andrew has never been boring. We are blessed to be surrounded by such supportive family and friends, now internationally.


Oh By The Way…We’re Moving

Want to hear something crazy? This blog turned the big 2 years old yesterday. Two years ago, we announced we were moving to the United Kingdom.


Here we are, almost to the day, announcing we are moving back to the United States!
Minneapolis, here we come! From raindrops to snowflakes.

I owe you a lot of details. I’m getting there. Sorry for being cryptic; the move has taken a lot of turns. Right now we are focused on packing up and moving back over the pond, and it’s taking a lot of energy and time. This blog is going to evolve as well. For now, we’re focused on the move. Looking forward to catching up with family and friends on our stop off in Atlanta – real soon, y’all!


Packing Up Is Hard To Do

You’re probably thinking at this point that perhaps Andrew is some secret military operative. We’re moving again; by now we’re pros. Although we went through a massive downsize moving across the pond, it’s amazing at the crap you can accumulate. European living has helped us keep things to a minimum, but it’s still time to purge.

imagesClosets. Oh sweet mother, cleaning out the closet. Here’s some of my rules I’m living by:

1. Ditch anything that’s 2 years or older. It should be one year, but let’s be realistic. Fabrics fade and stretch out. Be okay with parting with items. I have given my old clothes to friends or charity and I’m happy to see these items make new friends and get a good home.
2. Dudes Rule. Seriously, Roo is amazefest at keeping things tidy. A bit “Sleeping With the Enemy” now that I think about it. He has no problem dumping old things he doesn’t wear frequently, because it makes room for new duds. I like this rule.
3. Go through things a few times. I have been going through wardrobes once a week for the past three weeks. I started putting things in order of things I wear a lot, a little, and never. The never is a column that’s hard to admit. Each week I get a better perspective of things I want to keep. It makes the piles of clothes easier to digest and not feel overwhelmed that you’re getting rid of clothes. I was holding on to Forever 21 things like they were Chanel.

Ask yourself these questions: Do I love it? Is it flattering? Is this the style I want to project? If it’s a “yes” to all three, then it’s a keeper.

A Beautiful Mess has some amazefest tips as well – Remember, it’s taken you years to accumulate this stuff, and you’ll need time to let it all go.

Five Month Anniversary


Age: 5 months
Weight: 15.14 lbs

Milestones: I love saying, “Mama,” and occasionally I’ll direct that word to the lady that’s always around. They say I’m less of a ‘cork in the water’ bobbing around with my head. I’ll grab things that people shove in my face, and I figured out my name. Must they say it all.the.time? Mom keeps complaining that I’m getting kind of heavy.
Best Moment: Made my first big land purchase, Ryder Island. It’s tropical and I eat the butterflies. My island lets me jump around and get off my melon.
Worst Moment: When dad told everyone at a party that I pooped my pants. Mom did her best to make my quick-change into a new outfit discreet.
Eating: Milktinis, milkadillas, milkcakes. Poppin bottles! I’ve learned to enjoy a bottle. Mom calls it the “Express Bottle.” Whatever. I’m still getting good ol’ milky milk; haven’t had too much formula lately. Mom’s finally got this whole system worked out. These people have been trying to feed me things on spoons that sound like airplanes. What is that about? I sometimes get my paci dipped in delicious, delicious beverages. I like to nosh on bananas and other fruit they let me get my hands on. I’m tired of eyeing their food! I’m ready.
Notables: I now have to be strapped into my favorite toys. My freedom is slipping away. Mom keeps asking me if I can say “USA” but I’m not sure what’s going on. I find a lot of things funny; giggling at these crazy parents is my fave.

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So much I want to tell you, and nowhere to begin.

My brother once asked me if I thought that my ambiguous postings made me feel cool.

I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.

I go back and forth with how much I want to share and post, and that might be the reason that a lot of this blog doesn’t make sense. My words, my rules. Let’s be honest, it’s best to read this crapola when you’re waiting in line, bored to tears.

There has been a ton going on lately, which is why I’ve been posting more pretty pictures than words, and I guess now is a good of time as ever to spill it.

[I tried a few jokes here about quitting jobs and travelling across Europe, but I’ll be serious for once.]

Things are about to get bat sh*t crazy. When Ryder and I came back into the country we had the pleasure of meeting with the Department of Immigration. Nothing like being up for 24+ hours and having to answer questions about your munchkin’s passport.

Note to self – immigration doesn’t appreciate humour. Ryder’s second passport stamp included a special message:


So, there’s that.

You have questions? I have questions. It’s a mess and we’ve been dealing with visa people and the Embassy. I knew we should have gone with American Express.

The inevitable timeline of moving to the states moved up when I flew back with Rye. Dramatically, fair to say.

It’s no surprise to those close to me know that I have been looking forward to coming back to the states – eventually. Understand that in order to move back to the U.S., it is a lot of time and work (and did I mention expensive?). Add a baby to the mix, and this beautiful European vacation has changed. It’s something we’ve had to think about.

It’s a heavy decision that has taken many turns and different directions. Many late(r) nights, many glasses of wine. Loads of prayer. I know my friends and even my family question what we are doing, including living abroad. Andrew and I have lived in multiple cities, and it’s hard to explain to anyone the experience of living away from close friends and family unless they have done the same. Every move we make is as a couple and now a family. I’m fairly opinionated and trust me, I’ll voice my concerns. I’m surprised Andrew hasn’t been knighted.

You have to weigh the whole of a situation, and it can often be daunting. As parents, suddenly you are acutely aware of making sure you aren’t doing anything screw up your kid. Please law don’t let me mess up my kid!

The next journey is sure to be as exciting as the last, and I will embrace all the changes it comes with. We do love our lil illegal alien.

And this is where the Back to the Future “to be continued’ image comes flying through.