I don't even know where to begin. I have yet to write about the rest of our England trip in July and left off when we were getting ready to leave Sweden at the end of August, and here it's November already. People ask me how our cultural reentry went, and I think it got upstaged by moving to a new part of Virginia, which has been more challenging (making new friends, finding a new church, and remembering how to get to the stores). The kids (ages 4 and 6 now) started school and are enjoying playing soccer, riding their bikes, and running around the yard. We're thankful to be in a house again, although the one we're renting is smaller than the one we had before Sweden, so we still have many boxes that will just stay packed for now. We have wonderful neighbors who are quick to lend a hand (or caulk gun or set of cake pans). We're church-shopping a few weeks at a time, which is a long process. Steve is enjoying his new job (although learning the ins and outs of a new company is like moving to a new community as well), and we have explored the area enough that we're planning to house hunt soon. It still feels like we're in transition (ever since we moved out of our other house near Winchester), so it will be a welcome hurdle to move again and start putting down roots again once we get our own place.
I really missed having a studio in Sweden, and even before we moved back to the States I was planning a new line of jewelry and redesigning my website. I used Olivia's school bazaar as a deadline and that was helpful to get things going. My studio is tiny and I don't have space for my sewing and craft stuff, and even with the change of seasons I haven't really felt like making anything, which feels really strange for me. I usually have a list of project ideas, and in Sweden Pinterest let me craft vicariously, but when we moved back I was rusty and had to remind myself that I could go and get cheap ingredients at Michael's and actually make something. Once the bazaar was over my creative juices started flowing and I dug out supplies to make a tooth pillow for Olivia. She started losing teeth in Sweden, but I put this project off until I was reunited with my fabric stash and sewing machine. Her second front tooth has been loose for months, but the day after Halloween it finally gave up the ghost. So Olivia helped me stuff and observed me pinning and sewing with the machine and trimming corners and ironing, so it was a good sewing lesson.
And yesterday while she was at school I took Bowen to Goodwill in search of sweaters for pumpkins (tutorial here). Yes, part of the adjustment back to life in these United States is having a little sidekick again. Bowen was in preschool the same hours that Olivia was in kindergarten in Sweden (M-F 8:30-2:30), so that meant I had plenty of kidless time to do the walking group, tennis lessons, fika, grocery shopping, etc. But here in Virginia the preschools have 3-year-olds three mornings a week. It took me a while to realize that Bowen is pretty good at the stores so I don't have to spend my sacred kidless time on grocery shopping. Plus he earned money raking leaves last week, so after the thrift store and craft store and Chick-fil-A he bought a mini monster truck at the dollar store. And after we got home he helped me stuff and wrap this sweater pumpkin.
So our lives are getting back to normal, or I guess we're adjusting to the "new normal," and so far so good.