Saturday, July 28, 2012

The beginning of the Olympics

The Olympics has now officially kicked off in London. There were several fun events leading up to it.

First the torch traveled across England and we were fortunate enough to live about a 3 minute walk from relay. We walked down the street one morning to see it. Lots of festivities around and excitement was in the air. There was a small parade leading the torch. It was exciting to see this and I'm happy we were able to go.

Yesterday morning, the bell ringers rang Big Ben 40 times over three minutes, while people across London rang their handbells alongside. Everyone here is so excited that it has become contagious. I admit to being the scrooge about the Olympics knowing it was going to make the traffic worse than it already is and the tube more stinky and crowded during rush hour (which is hard to believe!). But because of all the positive energy and enthusiasm, I will proudly admit, I am fully on board! I even stayed up until 1am to watch the full opening ceremonies.

Scott has secured tickets for us to an event and tomorrow I think we will probably go watch the Olympic bike race that goes very near to the house with the kids. I find myself pulling for both the USA and the UK (and admittedly cheered inside when the Dutch walked in the procession). I hope it is fun and safe for everyone. So far, it has certainly been inspiring.

Caden turns 7!

Caden finally had his seventh birthday this month. Because he was shortchanged a bit the last two years due to international moves during his birthday, we decided to make up a bit for it.

His first gift was having two of his dearest friends over for celebrations and cakes. Keali was all up in the mix as well. After pizza at his favorite pizza store, back to the house for bubbles and cake. The cake was a huge hit since it made their mouths black! Thanks Chantelle for making an awesome cake!

The next day, we went to Borough Market in London. It was similar to the big market in Barcelona, but more people with the onset of the Olympics. We had fun but the crowds sent us packing before we were quite done shopping. We will be back there soon!

Then on Sunday, the four of us packed up and headed to LegoLand for two days. The highlight of the trip for the kids was the LegoLand hotel, complete with a treasure hunt, legos for building throughout the hotel, and the water park inside the hotel. The highlights for Scott and I were the Q-Bots which allowed us to skip the line and the ice cold beer the hotel sells! As tired as we all were after two sunny days filled with walking and standing, everyone had a great time.

The video highlights:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The end of an era

My grandmother died yesterday shortly after I wrote the last post. My uncle and family were with her and report that it was quick and painless.

Momo was my last living grandparent. She was onery on her best days even before she started to decline. She loved anything health/body involved. She told me time and time again how jealous she was that I spent time in the operating room on big disgusting infected bowel and abdomen cases. She would listen intently to any story I would offer about the surgeries.

I am happy that she met both Caden and Keali a few times although they don't remember meeting her. The last time any of our family saw her was just before we moved to Europe. She had started her mental decline then, but was still very much "her".

Momo loved playing the piano and was the very person who caused my interest in the piano. Years ago she allowed me to have the first piano that her father bought for their family in 1926. We have that upright piano at the ranch. It still plays pretty good. Because of that piano, I later bought a baby grand piano which is absolutely beautiful. The sound of piano playing in the house is one of my favorites.

I picked up a lot of the Lunt personality traits from her. She loved health related anything, as do I. She was particular about being timely, loved a good story, and was highly skeptical. She didn't like others knowing her family business and would go to great lengths to keep things private. And certainly my bossiness stems from her!

Popo died when I was 16. Momo later dated and was going to marry a man named Noble who died shortly after she decided she would marry him. Years later, she dated and married a man named Keith. He took care of her for a couple of years before she went into the nursing home. He died shortly after Momo went to the nursing home. She essentially outlived three partners. While not a big religious person, I hope on some level that she is back with Popo playing cards, auctioneering, antiquing, and worrying about everything under the sun.

With all of our recent pictures being in storage due to living overseas, the only picture I currently have access to of her is one I borrowed from my cousin Jayme. Here she is with Keith, Harry, Suzanne, Kaleb, Jayme and their spouses.

The obituary:

"Lahoma E. Lunt of Sunray passed away on Friday, July 13, 2012. Graveside services are scheduled for 10:00 A.M. on Monday, July 16, 2012 at Texhoma Cemetery. The memorial service will follow at 2:00 P.M. at Sunray Baptist Church with Bruce Broxson officiating. The family will receive friends from 4:30 to 6:00 P.M. on Sunday, July 15, 2012, at the funeral home in Sunray. Arrangements are entrusted to Morrison Funeral Directors.

Lahoma E. Bullington was born in Texhoma, Oklahoma to Vada & Harry Bullington. She attended Plainview Country School and Texhoma schools, but graduated from Amarillo High School with Honors. She married her sweetheart, Wesley Lunt in Texhoma. She and Wesley farmed together south of Texhoma. Lahoma drove the trucks during harvest and furnished delicious meals for the crews. She was a wonderful cook and was especially known for her coconut cream pies and homemade ice cream. During her lifetime, she worked at Pantex and attended auctioneer school with Wesley. She enjoyed auctioning BBQ at church functions. Lahoma also had a real estate license.

During WWII, she and Wesley were stationed at Bolling Field in Washington, DC, where Lahoma was the secretary to the Provost Marshall, while Wesley was with the Army Air Force. After the war, they returned to the farm. They had twin sons in 1951, Harry & Gary. They moved from the farm to Sunray in 1957, where Lahoma was involved in many school functions and activities. Lahoma was a 60 year member of Eastern Star, a member of the Sunray Baptist Church, and Study Club.

Lahoma and Wesley retired from farming in 1986 and spent their remaining years together traveling, meeting new friends, and enjoying new adventures. Wesley passed away in October of 1989. Lahoma was a widow for fifteen years. She married Keith Lamb in 2003. They were wonderful companions for years, until Lahoma moved to The Cottages at Quail Creek in Amarillo. The family is grateful for the loving care she received while she resided there.

Lahoma will be dearly missed by her family and many friends. She supported many charities, including Sunray Baptist Church, the Salvation Army, and Faith City Mission. The family requests memorials to these organizations, or the charity of your choice.

She was preceded in death by her husband Wesley in 1989; her husband Keith Lamb in 2011; and her sister, Ilene Jones from Texhoma.

Lahoma leaves behind two sons, Harry Lunt and wife Suzanne of Sunray, and Gary Lunt of Port Aransas, TX; five grandchildren, Michael Lunt, Micha Hooper, Melissa Balazs, Kaleb Lunt and Jayme York; and nine great grandchildren."

Friday, July 13, 2012

An update

I just came to realize it has been almost an entire month without an update. It seems only last week that we were having our 10 year first date anniversary. So much has happened since then!

The most memorable and fun thing was that Scott surprised me with a re-do of our first date once I returned from Washington DC. He had La Griglia menus sent directly from Houston so we could re-do our Italian dinner (even remembering what we ate that night and having the chefs prepare it) as well as Treana wine which several of our very dear friends helped him sneak into the UK. We even went from our Italian feast to a low-key bar, complete with a Kay's sign made for the occasion. I was shocked and of course burst into tears like the little girls who see Justin Bieber... What a wonderful night we had, both 10 years ago and on our re-do.

We finished off our anniversary with a quick weekend trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. We ate. We drank. We slept. We had a blast having no responsibilities and just hanging out. Scott loved the castle up on the cliff, and I too had a good time re-exploring it.

It was a good weekend indeed. A perfect top off for our anniversary week. The only ick factor was the haggis...

We welcomed Michelle B into our home. She will be helping with the kids and exploring London when she isn't busy. The kids like her a great deal and she is a very good calming source for Caden. She's very quiet so we hope we don't run her off with our organized chaos!

Shortly after that, I had a quick work trip to Dublin. Some really big work news went down while I was there, but I'll save that for a later post. It has been quite an emotional roller coaster at work lately which seems to be calming down to some degree.

The kids just yesterday have wrapped up school for the year. Caden finished up Year 1 (equivalent to kindergarten in the USA) and Keali compoleted Reception (pre-k 4). They both can read and write whole sentences, and both excel at math. Keali is considerably better at writing than Caden was at her age simply due to not skipping around schools and grades during the foundation year. He has made tremendous progress though. We are very proud of how much he has done in just a few short months. The teachers at school finally agreed with us that he is dyslexic. While there are varying degrees of dyslexia, Caden has already developed a ton of coping mechanisms to overcome this. Yesterday we found a specialist in dyslexia who will work with him through the summer to ensure his incredible forward progress is continued. Once his writing and spelling are better aligned with his amazing intellect, he'll be in a good place. A friend of mine at work turned me onto "The Gift of Dyslexia". As soon as I read it, I was amazed at how many things in the book described Caden as well as how lucky he is to have what some might consider a disability.

London is preparing for the Olympics which start in just a couple of weeks. The traffic which is normally kind of bad is already worse. We are excited about seeing the events that Scott was able to get tickets for, but certainly dreading the extra 6 million people expected to arrive in this city of already 12 million.

On a less happy note, I learned last night that my grandmother isn't expected to live more than a few more days. She lived independently and at home until she was well over 90. In the last couple of years, she has been in a nursing home and recently suffered a relatively severe stroke. I know she wouldn't want to live as she is currently "living". As sad as it is to say good-bye, I think she would want her pride and humility restored by leaving this world. It will however be a very sad day for the family. Many of my Lunt qualities come from her and her side of the family, and some are probably more desirable than others. But we are who we are. I hope I can live independently and as healthily as she did until 90+.