Tuesday, 28 June 2016

House packing USA style

So this happened last Wednesday.  2 lovely ladies from the packing company arrived and put everything in boxes.  By everything, I MEAN everything. I had to go round and take trash out of their hands before they packed it

They got everything left over into boxes.  We had already sorted out air freight and plane luggage into separate areas.  As soon as I was able to, I moved half the luggage to the hotel, picking up a Sebastian from school on the way.

The boys were dead excited about staying at the hotel. Our good friends, the Barton's, were also here, so the kids had some company.  Their container was loaded and sealed on the Wednesday, so we had some ideas on what to expect.  Paul arrived at the hotel with the cat about 6pm.  Crazy hectic.  Then for dinner.

Thursday morning, a team of 3 men arrived to dismantle and wrap the big furniture.  

 Paul and I had great fun getting the tv off the wall and into its box, but we did it.

Once the men had done the boys bedrooms, they each dusted and hovered.  These rooms are now ready for the carpet cleaners


Thursday went fairly smoothly, but the men finished quite early.  We were a little concerned as there was still the garage to pack, and they had found a couple of drawers (my craft drawers) that the ladies had missed.

Paul decided to go back early on the Friday morning to get these last bits that were missed and assist as best he could.  The boys and I had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then headed over to the house.  The container was already there when we arrived 


The kids posed for a few photos, then had some computer time.  The guys made good progress.  We left them to it, and went for lunch at Fuddruckers.  We had hoped initially that they would be done by lunch, so we could get on the road to Myrtle Beach.  Alas they were not.

(Should mention during this time I was sorting the cat.  I had to take her to the vet to be checked over so she could get a certificate as being fit to fly.  This needed to be hand delivered to the state vet in Columbia for them to counter sign.  I did not realize it had to be hand delivered.  The original plan was that we would drop by there on the way back from the beach and pick up the faxed copy.  This changed our beach plans, but more on that in the next post.  The cat was then taken to the cattery for her stay.  She is getting a bath this afternoon, so this should be interesting!)

We arrived back from lunch about 2.  They were nearly done.  We popped out to get some sweets for the journey, and an incentive for the guys.   (Beer) I think it worked.  The container was loaded and signed for by 4pm. 


All our stuff in one container,  and it wasn't even full! It's just stuff.  


Bye stuff! See you on the other side! 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Last night in our house

Tonight is the last night in our house.  I am sad.  Granted, it's not our house as such, but we have lived here for 3 years and 9 months, and it does feel like home.

We have had some great times here.  And some not so great.  Life generally is what you make it, and we have tried to make the best of what we have here.  This house is huge.  Too big really.  The kids can go room to room making a mess. If paul didn't get on at them about it, we would live in squalor. I get to them (eventually), but there are too many rooms. 

We shall miss the nice big fenced in yard.  The large 2 car garage (with automatic openers).  The big open plan kitchen and living area.  The boys play room (though they tend to play in the living room since their tv is gone) was good in its time, and since we moved the Lego in there they have been playing there a lot more.  The office room, which has since turned into the computer and craft room.  Such good light for taking photos! It's funny how the rooms have evolved and grown as out interests and hobbies have changed.  

Upstairs has not changed.  Sebastian and Isaac still share, and still do well for it.  Oliver loves having his own space.  We need at least three bedrooms.  Isaac and Seb won't share forever.  Hormones will not allow it.  Out lovely big master suite with living area (waste of space) and en suite bathroom.  That is a big bathroom.  The walk in closet.  Loved having that.  Shame we have bought enough clothes to actually fill it (under bed storage boxes here we come).

The pool. Ahh the pool.  The community pool.  We have loved it.  In the height of summer, it is much needed. Our boys have loved it, as have we.  Such a good thing to have. I know the HOA fees are high here, but the pool makes up for it.  There have been many a time we have had the pool to our selves.  Our boys also tend to scare people away.  Not so much this year, but in previous years, yes.......

This subdivision is lovely.  The boys and I took a little stroll this morning.  Well. They scooted (fast) and I just about kept up.  Part of their twice daily summer exercise.  It is so lovely.  Being on a road with gorgeous houses in a circuit.  Pretty much all houses back on to a creek or an adjoining neighborhood or free land.  Wonderful,though you do need to drive about 7 minutes to hit a main road. 

Tomorrow the packers arrive.  I have sorted suitcases for the next 9 days.  One for the local hotel, one for out beach trip, another for the local hotel, then another 3 full of England clothes (trainers, trousers, cardigans, jumpers) and any thing additional from the closets.  They are bare, and have been for a few days.

We are in for some craziness until we get packed up.  Fingers crossed they are done by Friday at noon, as that is when we would like to leave for the beach.

I am now down to my ipad.  We packed the computer today (sob). If you would like to see photos, please search Have Goslings must Travel on Facebook.  We have a page.

I shall miss this place.  Not sure we will ever live somewhere like this again.  But that would not be a bad thing..... 

Looking forward to the next chapter.  I hope the packers like cookies and muffins

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Thing I will miss about South Carolina

I have been meaning to do this post for a while.  Given we are 2 weeks away from the house getting packed, this would seem like a good time.

This is a list of things I am going to miss.  Some of them are relevant to just this area or state, and some are relevant to the whole country.  Some are just for me, and some are as a family.

Some will be couple of words, others will be paragraphs.  As we conclude our lives here, this list will be added to.  It is also something for me to look back on fondly (hopefully).

So in no particular order.......

1.   The weather.  It is going to be over 90 degrees this weekend.  Winter lasts about 3 months tops.  Snow dissipates quickly.  The kids live in shorts from March- November.  But it does get too hot.  But I don't mind.

2.  The mountains.  I have never really lived near mountains before.  As you drive up the interstate 385 from Simpsonville into Greenville, just after the mall turning, you get an awesome view of the mountains. 
You can also see them from other places around Simpsonville. Although we don't utilize them much, I shall miss having them near.

3.  The Y.  The gym.  We have had a family membership since the end of 2014.  Should have got one sooner.  I love taking Zumba, Cardio Dance Blast and TRX at the gym. The 2 younger ones had swimming lessons there. Oliver honed his basketball kills. They all love running the indoor track.  I love it, and shall miss it terribly.

4.  My Zumba family.  The Zumba instructor network in this area is awesome.  From the instructors at the Y to the Free community Zumba at the Kroc Centre, to the various churches and individual studios that host Zumba classes.  I have met a LOT of Zumba instructors.  And everyone is so nice!!! I am so glad I got my Zumba licences here, under Loretta Bates, Ali Ramirez and Renee Pickett.  They are brilliant ZES, and have taught me well.  I have even taught my first class here, subbing for a friend.  I love my Zumba buddies!

5.  The craft stores..... Micheals, Jo-Ann Fabric, A.C. Moore and Panda's Crossing.  My introduction to crafting then beading has been in large parts thanks to these stores.  I will particularly miss Panda's Crossing, and the lovely ladies who host the classes.

6.  The wild life.  Turkey vultures, blue tailed skinks, even the snakes....  

7.  The coast.  Ok, we are a good 3 hours from the coast, and are hoping to move nearer the coast in the UK.  But the east coast here is wonderful.  Dolphins, sea turtles, fish.  We love it.  

8.  The darn convenience of the restrooms.  Every store has a restroom for public use.  Every park and outside area has at least one toilet block.  Exceptionally good when you have small children.

9.  Eating out.  We eat out.  A lot.  we look for kids set free / cheap, and use these as much as possible.  I shall miss the variety, and the (generally) good service.

Friday, 3 June 2016

The end of American school (well, for 2 of them)

So school is officially out for 2 of the monkeys. Given that Sebastian is in a day care setting, he will be staying in school till the day before we leave, for everyones sanity.

They have all had their leaving ceremonies, so here are the pictures and details of them.

Sebastian graduated from Junior Kindergarten on 17th May.  Until this I had always thought that this small kids graduations were farcical. But they are not.  Seb has been in his school for over 2 years.  If we were staying, he would be leaving anyway and heading off to Kindergarten, probably at Isaacs school.  Some of the kids in his class have been at his school since they were infants.  They have grown up there.

Before they went and put their cap and gowns on, they did a little performance, where they recited and acted out nursery rhymes.  It was so cute.  Seb was a mouse in the rhyme 'Pussy cat, pussy cat'.  So cute.

They all looked so good in their gowns, which the school provided.  It was a great evening for Seb.

Isaac didn't have a ceremony or awards as such.  He had field day. This is basically sports day.  Paul took the day off, and I joined him after TRX.  Isaacs class went round to different activities on their field.  It was hot.  We were all grateful it was early in the morning 

If you read this blog, and know us, you will know that Isaac often struggles in these kind of situations.  He did a little here.  There were a few things he didn't want to do, but that was ok.  It is accepted that he is a little different, and accommodations are made.  Another reason why his school rocks.  He did however LOVE the assault course.

The thing the kids loved most about field day? The fire truck

After all classes have done their activities on the field, a fire truck from Simpsonville Fire Department turns  up and they take it in turns to be sprayed by the hose.

They absolutely loved it, and had a great day.  Isaac did so well.  He has excelled at that school, and we will miss his teacher, Mrs Wingo, so much.  She has been fabulous for him.  We will certainly be keeping in touch! 

He was the first to finish! On his birthday I went in for his birthday blessing in Chapel.  This coincided with the 4th grade leavers service.  His school finishes lower school a grade earlier than public schools in South Carolina. After his leavers service was his exhibition. This is a piece of work that they do in groups on a particular topic.  Kinda like a dissertation piece.  Oliver got to work with his 2 best friends.  Not sure how much work they did.......  Their exhibition topic was shelter, and they chose to do animals and natural disasters.  They did a powerpoint presentation.  It was pretty good! 

Oliver had a leaving presentation on the wednesday of the same week.  We went to this last year also.  It is held out side.  As he was leaving this year, like the rest of his grade, a big emphasis was placed on the 4th graders.  Oliver received a certificate for his work in safety patrol (car pool).  

Oliver has been in CCES for 4 years.  For him, it has been the perfect school. He has done so well.  If we did this whole experience again, I am not sure we would go with the same school options, but hindsight is a difficult thing to gauge. 

I know that ALL the boys schools have been the right choices for them THIS year.  They have all had a really good year, even with the issues we have had.  I think they have done really well, and have a really good basis to continue their education back in England.

I can't wait to have them all in the same school (hopefully!!!)