Living in America 2012--Because It Is No Longer 2011

(649 Posts)
MmeBucket Tue 10-Jan-12 02:50:36

This is what happens when I start threads--they get stupid titles. Someone else needs to start the next one. Hopefully we can get this one filled by 2013.

Link to old thread for reference

Not much happening here. The kids have been off school for 25 days. I am soooo looking forward to them starting school tomorrow. Except it is my day to help, so instead of getting a break from my two, I'll have 22 of them to deal with.

SydneyScarborough Tue 10-Jan-12 02:57:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kickassangel Tue 10-Jan-12 03:55:17

Hi
I lost track of the old thread as well. Quiet Christmas but in a good way. We had 17 days off school but today was a training day. Kids in tomorrow

No snow yet and hitting 50 degrees some days. This is like march, not jan.

spamm Tue 10-Jan-12 04:08:53

Hello all.

Thank you for starting the new thread, MmeBucket! We needed to get back on track, I cannot believe we were so slow in 2011.

Sydney - welcome! It took me some time to really join, I was on/off for ages. How are you enjoying Philadelphia?

Well, 2012 has stated to get busy already. I am off on my first trip of the year tomorrow - to San Antonio for 5 days. But planning to take my DH with me on business to Colorado Springs next month, so that we can get 2-3 days of skiing together which should be nice. Just need to see some snow before then.

It snowed in Northern Virgina today, but it will not be around for long as they are predicting 50 for tomorrow. I want a little bit of winter before it gets too warm again!

MmeBucket Tue 10-Jan-12 04:10:52

Hello Sydney. We are excited to have all the posters we can get.

Oh, yeah. Good to see you too, kickass and spamm. smile

CheerfulYank Tue 10-Jan-12 04:20:42

Just popping in to say hello. I'm not an expat, I'm an American living in America (specifically Minnesota) but let me know if you ever have any questions or anything.

<waves to everyone>

MmeBucket Tue 10-Jan-12 04:24:13

Yay! More Americans living in America. I get so excited because there just aren't that many of us. I love Minnesota. It is beautiful. DH has a running joke in his family about it, because he has a cousin that keeps threatening to move him and his family there, but doesn't make it more than a few hundred miles away before turning around and coming back home.

This thread is off to a great start.

SydneyScarborough Tue 10-Jan-12 04:27:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CheerfulYank Tue 10-Jan-12 05:04:15

Minnesota is great Mme. I love it here, anyway! smile

mockingjay Tue 10-Jan-12 07:17:31

Hello all, I'm in Seattle. I also lost track of the old thread!

I wish it would snow here - it did last year and it was so peaceful. Until everyone tried to get to work that is!

SydneyScarborough Wed 11-Jan-12 00:58:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MmeBucket Wed 11-Jan-12 01:11:00

It isn't as if you lived here your whole life, Sydney. We'll let it slip. ;)

I just read about your DD. Wow. I have SVT, so I always pay extra attention to a VT problem. Do you know how long you will be here in the States, or is it just a play it by ear type of thing?

I'm not really keen on it to snow, mockingjay. We're headed up your way next week, and don't want to deal with that. Can it snow after next Wednesday?

NatashaBee Wed 11-Jan-12 01:15:32

<marks place> hi everyone! Hope the New Year has got off to a good start. My sister is coming to visit in March... So excited! Now I just need to find lots of exciting places to take her in Michigan.

VintageNancy Wed 11-Jan-12 01:52:38

Hi everyone, can't believe we've been living in California for a month. The time is going so fast, the baby will be here before I know it (28 weeks pg tomorrow). I've found some lovely midwives so excited about that and have been getting out and exploring on my own a little bit while DH is at work.

We were hoping to head off to the mountains for skiing (well I won't be skiing obviously) but there's been no snow in Tahoe.

SydneyScarborough Wed 11-Jan-12 02:19:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MmeBucket Wed 11-Jan-12 02:20:50

Hi, Nancy. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I know from experience that being pregnant is a very stressful time to move (and I only moved across the state) so hopefully you are getting settled.

I have had a lovely evening. DH and the DC's kicked me out of the kitchen, and they cleaned up the dinner dishes, and have moved on to cleaning out the fridge. DH also handed me a brownie he picked up earlier today, so it is just me, the brownie, and a glass of milk right now.

VintageNancy Wed 11-Jan-12 03:07:37

Sydney we're near San Jose, enjoying it so far. Yes baby number 1. All very exciting but lots to deal with at once!

MmeBucket thank you smile Yes it wasn't the best timing but in other ways I couldn't imagine it any other way. We were hoping for the job here to happen, the baby to happen, and both happened at the same time! If I'd got pregnant sooner we might have shelved the relocation plans and never made it over here.

I'm jealous of your brownie! I'm waiting for DH to come home so we can have dinner- doesn't he know pregnant women need to eat?!

MmeBucket Wed 11-Jan-12 04:20:59

Sydney, I'm sorry. You and I posted around the same time, and I missed your last post. I've had SVT for about 20ish years. I have the annoying but not fatal kind. When it kicks in, they once got me on a heart monitor going about 310 bpm. They put me on beta-blockers like Verapamil and something else I can't remember, but the problem is that I have very low blood pressure, and when I was on those, I'd pass out because my blood pressure would drop so low. So for all but a few months, I've been on nothing, because it is easier on my body.

I've actually had my symptoms fairly under control since I quit working. I've only passed out twice (one of those times was at DD's preschool, where I freaked out the poor teacher, who thought I was dying because I turned blue) in the past 5 years. Like I said, I'm very lucky to have just the annoying kind where the worst thing that happens to me is I'm very tired after an episode, and I don't think that randomly passing out is odd at all.

I hope you can figure out what is best for DD. I've heard awesome things about Boston Children's hospital.

mockingjay Wed 11-Jan-12 04:40:06

Well I suppose I can wait until then for snow, MmeBucket <ungracious>

Congrats on the pregnancy VintageNancy!

It is amazing how little I knew of US geography Sydney... I thought I was moving to the eastern side when I first heard - I had no idea Washington was also a state until I saw the length of my flight!

MmeBucket Wed 11-Jan-12 04:53:00

Thank you for that, mockingjay, gracious or not. grin

It has been slightly icy here the past few mornings, and while I've had no problems, there was a pretty bad accident between my house and the kids' school this morning, and I'd like to avoid that if possible.

fridakahlo Wed 11-Jan-12 05:01:47

Hi sydney, I love philly but don't get there nearly often enough and it's only an hour or so by train. Much prefer it to NY.
May I ask what SVT is? I've never come across it before. I hope being over here gets your dd the treatment she needs.
Hello everyone else, happy new year and still no snow! Yet they still won't allow climate change to be an official recoignised problem! Oh well, not sure it would make much difference anyway.

CheerfulYank Wed 11-Jan-12 07:30:32

I have also heard that Boston Children's is phenomenal. I hope everything goes well Sydney. Do you need anything?

Sigh...I really hate no snow. I live in Minnesota for cryin' out loud. Last year we had feet of it. This does happen occasionally, I guess. Still sad though.

wentshopping Wed 11-Jan-12 15:29:12

Hello from Texas! I hope spamm packed a sweater for San Antonio - we have cool weather at last!
Waves to sydney - I have just seen you on sn thread. Only know Texas Childrens Hospital with dd3, but feel free to ask any medical-related questions - I have forgotten the UK system entirely now smile
25 days off from school???? Mine had 2 weeks, and we're in the second week back already!

SydneyScarborough Wed 11-Jan-12 17:29:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MmeBucket Wed 11-Jan-12 19:59:06

It pretty much is under control. My cardiologist pointed out as soon as I was diagnosed that I was one of the luckiest patients in his office, because many people there were living with the fact that what they had was life threatening or something that limited their daily life activities, and I had something that was a PITA, but not a major condition. I've always been appreciative of that, because it really set the tone for me to not worry about it, and just feel lucky that in the grand scheme of things, it is a minor annoyance.

So to turn the thread from Pediatric Cardiology in the US, I propose to talk about food. This thread has historically been heavy on weather and food, and we've already covered weather. Last night we had cottage pie, which I love, and so did the rest of the family. Tonight we're having barbecue chicken sliders with a blue cheese coleslaw. Then the rest of the week we're going veggie to make up for all of the unhealthiness.

wentshopping Wed 11-Jan-12 20:11:00

I'm just about to head out to the grocery store for dinner inspiration. I have potatoes... cottage pie, now there's an idea. Thanks MmeB.

VintageNancy Wed 11-Jan-12 20:20:13

I need to get to the grocery store today - no idea what we're having for dinner though.

Off to DMV later to apply for driving licences. In fact I should go swot up for the written test...

SydneyScarborough Wed 11-Jan-12 20:21:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MmeBucket Wed 11-Jan-12 20:35:03

It is pretty much something involving meat that you put on a smaller than average hamburger bun. Normally I'm not affected by cute food as I always go to the grocery store with a list (to which I strictly stick to) and with a full stomach, but the last time I went I was really hungry, and they just looked so tempting I couldn't resist.

kickassangel Thu 12-Jan-12 00:03:34

Dh made a load of cottage pie over the break so we have one in the freezer. Mmmm

spamm Fri 13-Jan-12 19:41:44

Reporting in from a very chilly San Antonio - no dining outside on the Riverwalk this year, it has been very cold. I am taking a lunch break at my conference - surrounded by military, I am sat here on MN - a bit weird!

I have a black tie dinner tonight and I am not looking forward to it - feel exhausted. I never sleep well when away on business, so stayed up late watching Game of Thrones on HBO GO. I now have a new TV addiction to add to The Walking Dead - cannot wait until the new series in April.

Mmmmm - cottage pie. I made Cornish pasties for DH on Sunday, and they were delicious, I was pretty impressed with my own work. There is a pasty shop in the area, but it is about 10 miles, and always costs a fortune, as we buy all the other British goodies as well, including meat pies and chocolate.

kickassangel Fri 13-Jan-12 22:19:51

British goodies. I am jealous. Although near us there's a store with walkers shortbread on bogof . Yum

MrsOlf Fri 13-Jan-12 22:38:42

Hello everyone [waves]
Just marking my place as we move to Houston a week on Tuesday.

MmeBucket Fri 13-Jan-12 23:37:18

I have always wanted to have a pastie ever since I heard about them. Someday I need to do that for our ridiculously unhealthy dinner of the month.

CheerfulYank Sat 14-Jan-12 06:45:35

They're actually really big where I come from in Northern Minnesota. Pasties I mean smile There were a lot of mines and apparently the miners would take them down pit. I love them and make them with venison every year smile

spamm Sat 14-Jan-12 13:41:54

I have heard that, CheerfulYank - seems like a good reason to go to Minnesota! Mmmmmm.

How do you make your pastry? The pastry I made last week - very butter shortcrust - was not easy to work with, so I am not sure I got it right. But it was delicious. I think I need a little more water next time - possibly a bit too dry.

MmeBucket - happy to share the recipe, from the BBC Food website. It is much easier than I imagined, I had never made them before I moved here to years ago, but they were yummy! My DH said this lot were my best yet. Not healthy, but nice on a cold winter's day.

spamm Sat 14-Jan-12 13:43:30

Hello to MrsOlf - Good luck on the move!

MmeBucket Sat 14-Jan-12 16:09:56

I would love the recipe, spamm. I have a kitchen scale, so I'm equipped to "cook British".

Hi MrsOlf. Hope you have as low-stress move as possible, and we can't wait to hear how it goes.

wentshopping Sat 14-Jan-12 16:12:20

Hi Mrsolf - good luck on your move. I live in Houston, so feel free to pm me if you need anything. It is gorgeous weather here today - hope it lasts for a few weeks.

MrsOlf Sat 14-Jan-12 23:08:35

Thanks for the welcome everyone and to Wentshopping for offer of help too.
I'll let you know how we get on next week.

kickassangel Sat 14-Jan-12 23:23:51

Pasties are big in michigan as well - for the same reason. There must be something about mining & pasties, a bit like being a ploughman and eating bread & cheese.

Hi to 'new' people' - good luck with the move, and don't expect things to happen too quickly, it takes a while to feel at home.

MrsOlf Sun 15-Jan-12 19:14:49

A very quick question. My DH is going bedding shopping in Macy's tomorrow and wanted me to choose some stuff from the website as guidance on the sort of thing we want.
We've not shipped our bedding out as beds are different size so we'll need to get everything. Is a comforter a duvet? If not, what's the difference? What is a bed in a bag (it seems to be lots of pillows for decoration but not much for sleeping - can just here the swearing from my husband when he gets home with one of those...)
Please help before my DH goes out on his own. wink

mockingjay Sun 15-Jan-12 19:26:56

Bring your snow shoes MmeBucket! smile

MmeBucket Sun 15-Jan-12 20:34:09

A comforter is the big blanket that is the top decorative layer of the bed. You don't have to zip it into anything like a duvet. Bed in a bag is a decorative set for your bed. You get a comforter, matching decorative pillow covers, and sometimes something else that matches in it.

Are you not melted out yet, mockingjay? How much snow did you get? We had snow but it was gone by about 10:30. We only have to make it to Grand Mound, and we're not going until Tuesday, so hopefully everything will be fine by then.

mockingjay Sun 15-Jan-12 20:44:22

Ours has only just started in earnest, a good 4 or 5 inches so far, with no signs of letting up. I think it's supposed to be gone by Wednesday though.

MmeBucket Sun 15-Jan-12 20:52:57

Really? Ugh. We're at about 600 feet, and just getting rain, so I was hoping it would be the same up there. Hopefully the freeway will be clear. We don't really have to do any driving except for the freeway.

mockingjay Sun 15-Jan-12 20:56:39

I think you'll probably be ok - think Monday's the last day of snow. Unfortunate timing though!

wentshopping Sun 15-Jan-12 23:12:55

MrsOlf - Macy's also use the word comforter for what we would call a duvet. I have bought their own brand down "Charter Club" brand and found them to be fine. If it was my H shopping he would probably try getting the Calvin klein in which case they would be going straight back. ($$$) There is a sale on just now! For most of the year a level 1 or 2 is plenty as even with the air-conditioning it is pretty warm here. (Eg, I have a level 1, with a quilt over the top just now.) If you are also buying duvet covers and pillow cases (=sham) try also looking at pottery barn, or their kids website as I find macys a bit pricey for this. You can also get M&S delivered here for 15.00 pounds. (And John Lewis too, but not everything is available for international delivery).
I bought kid bedding from Ikea, and that has been fine, although not as soft as M&S, Pottery barn etc. Another thing to watch out for at Macys: they will try and sell you "king size pillows" which are bigger than normal pillows, so if ever buy normal pillowcases the pillows will stick out. I get my pillows from Target, which is like getting them from a big Tescos. (Good choice of down, synthetic etc) If your DH is going to Memorial City Macys, there is a Target in the same mall. Then a mile or so west in Town and Country Village there is a Pottery Barn. Hth.

CheerfulYank Mon 16-Jan-12 02:02:23

Target is my favorite for pretty much everything in the world. grin

I think that pasties/miner reasoning is that everything is in a neat little pocket and the filling doesn't get cold as the crust is so thick. smile Are you in the UP, kickass ? I always forget. blush Yoopers and Rangers (from the Minnesota Iron Range) have a really similar culture due to being settled by large groups of Finns.

MrsOlf Mon 16-Jan-12 12:16:23

Thanks MmeBucket and wentshoping. smile

Earlybird Mon 16-Jan-12 13:01:59

Hello, hello and happy new year to all. Glad to see we have a new thread for a new year. Welcome to all new joiners. Bit of background: we live in Tennessee, and I have an almost-11 year old dd.

We had a lovely Christmas break. Didn't go anywhere, and absolutely loved not being a slave to a schedule so we could be spontaneous and do what we liked when we wanted.

DD has been back at school since 3 Jan, though is out today for MLK holiday. I'm actually <shudder> thinking about a trip to the mall today for a bit of shopping. Haven't been there since before Thanksgiving - not even the sales could tempt me to brave the crowds!

No snow here yet, though we have had a few flurries that didn't amount to anything.

Hello everyone
I'm just popping in to say hello and see what's going on. We've just found out we're moving to Washington in the summer with 3 kids. Exciting times!

I'm so glad you're already talking about duvets. I'm fretting about bedding, but at least now I know the vernacular.

mockingjay Tue 17-Jan-12 15:57:16

Hi whimsicalname, will you be moving to DC or Washington State? Exciting!

DC. Sorry, keep forgetting to specify. Apparently there's one in Tyneside as well. Definitely not that one!

kickassangel Tue 17-Jan-12 20:40:39

Hi,

Here people just say DC.

Btw we just brought our beds and bedding over. Now it is gatting old Nd scruffy it's hard to get a replacement, so I have started making quilts to throw over and cover up the tatty duvets

spamm Wed 18-Jan-12 01:56:08

Hello whimsicalname - we did that move in October 2009 - how time flies! Let me know if I can be of help with anything. We live outside DC in Nova, northern Virginia. I work in Arlington - just across the river from DC itself.

I wish it would just snow - am bored with this on/off winter. Was 26 degrees yesterday, is 57 today and they are predicting about 40ish tomorrow....I never know what to wear when I leave the house!

Hello everyone (and especially MrsOlf and wentshopping)
Hope you don't mind me tagging along! We moved to Houston a year ago so still a relative newbie here, plus am newish to MN too so very excited to actually get involved in a proper post!

Thanks kickass I'm worried about sounding a bit 'West Wing' (must update cultural references) just saying DC. I imagine once there it will sound more normal!

Hello spamm Thanks so much for your offer. I think we are moving to Church Falls, which if google maps is correct (or my map reading) is not far from Arlington.

We have a house and things to move to, attached to my husband's work, so a lot less hassle than some people have. No doubt I'll be in touch though!

MrsOlf Wed 18-Jan-12 10:39:58

Hello marriedtoaMAMIL. Whereabouts in Houston are you? I think the area we're moving to is called Westchase. Had DD2 with stomach bug for most of this week so prep for moving on Tuesday is not going well at all sad and DH is away until
Sat pm. Just waiting for DD2 and me to go down with it too...

Oh dear MrsOlf - that is bad timing indeed (cue obsessive hand washing and applying of hand sanitiser)
We're in West University Place which isn't too far from Westchase. Do let me know if there's anything I can help you with once you get here, or anything else you need to know about life in Houston!

kickassangel Wed 18-Jan-12 13:40:48

I found this thread a reall support when I first moved. It took me ages to settle in, and some days the only people I 'talked' to were on here, so don't be shy about asking questions - we've all done it. There's also a few rl yanks who hang out on here & they are the experts at what to do!

wentshopping Wed 18-Jan-12 16:08:02

Hello marriedtoaMAMIL I live near Memorial/I10/Beltway, so nearer to Westchase than West U. Do you have dc? Private school or not?
Don't worry MrsOlf just put it all in a box and sort it when you get here. (Kicks unsorted box further under the table)
Girl scout cookie sales are in ful swing here. My non-verbal dd sold over 20 boxes at school (to her teachers) and her therapy clinic yesterday, inexplicably to some people who have girl scout daughters. (One even in the same troop?) Must be her sweet smile that does the trick.

MrsOlf Wed 18-Jan-12 16:22:43

I've got 2 DDs 5 and 3. We're not sure how long we'll be in Houston (and I'll be bringing DDs back to UK for a week or so every 6 weeks for work - madness I know...) so we're planning on staying away from school until Sept (hurrah!)
DHs company will pay for private school for DD1 if we stay past Sept so any guidance gratefully received. We've heard good things about the Village (but admin seems v disorganised...) and another I can't remember name of (need more sleep!)
Any ideas on activities or good places to visit once we get into a routine?
As for obsessive hand washing I have to admit to washing my hands in Dettol to avoid getting sick bug. Obviously hands look 90 years older than the rest of me today but won't care as long as it works...!
The shipping freight goes Monday am so if all else fails will swan round house pointing at anything not packed. grin

wentshopping Wed 18-Jan-12 16:33:51

MrsOlf our packers packed a bin complete with rubbish in it! When SIL moved one time she opened a box to find it contained a balloon and nothing else.
For dds 5 and 3 I would suggest the zoo and the childrens museum, and try going mid-afternoon as the school trips all have to leave in time to be back at school for 3pm. There's nothing more disappointing than going to the zoo and seeing the lines of school buses in the carpark. This time of year it is actually nice to be outside, so make the most of it! Sorry, I don't know anything about private schools, as we went local. Someone else on here moved here last summer and they went to the Village. One of my other friends (now elsewhere) had her dc in the British School, but I think that is quite a drive from Westchase. Wow on your travel plans!

tadjennyp Wed 18-Jan-12 18:58:17

Hello everyone and welcome to the newbies! I'm a Brit living in Central Oregon with dd (almost 6), ds1 4 and ds2 (almost 1, born here). Good luck with all those travel plans too.

It was a lovely quiet Christmas here and dd has been back at school since the 3rd with Monday off. Today is a snow day and all the schools in the district are closed (for about the 7th time in 20 years) as there is a huge storm blowing! I started skiing lessons on Saturday but will have to get a pair of goggles that cover my glasses before this Saturday or I won't be able to see anything. Dd already got promoted to the next level in her ski lessons!

I hope everyone is having a good day!

BabCNesbitt Wed 18-Jan-12 19:36:21

Hello everyone - another newbie here! Moving to NYC with my American husband and with DD (who'll be 4 months) at the end of Feb - no apartment sorted until we're out there, but we've rented a short-term place in Queens for a couple of weeks while we househunt. Only his postdoc salary to live on, and I'm a bit worried about how easy it'll be to live that cheaply there, but I guess it'll be a good way to learn good spending habits, anyway!

Hello again. I just have one ds and he's only 18 months old so haven't had to worry about schools etc yet thank goodness. However since October he has been going to a "mom's day out" two mornings a week to give me a bit of a break which has been a complete life saver!
We had the whole family over for Christmas which was a bit crazy (the joys of living the other side of the world eh?!) so enjoying things being a bit quieter now...!

SydneyScarborough Thu 19-Jan-12 19:50:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 19-Jan-12 21:35:51

Hi all

we move to Santa Monica in exactly 5 weeks, eeeeeek!! Very excited but finding it hard getting ANYTHING done thanks to having 3yo DS and 8week old DD, argh!

Been sent through our details for the apartment DH's company are putting us up in until we find somewhere ourselves - slightly concerned I won't want to leave it (2 pools, spa, 20blocks from the beach).

I can't drive (I know I know), have any of you learnt to drive in US? How quickly did you manage it?

For the record, we're taking our bed and bedding!!

SydneyScarborough Thu 19-Jan-12 23:38:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MmeBucket Fri 20-Jan-12 02:17:16

Taaaaadddd!!! Where have you been? I missed you. I was wondering how the weather was there. We were up in Washington Tuesday and yesterday, and boy did we get snowed on.

Hi new people!

tadjennyp Fri 20-Jan-12 06:30:08

grin MmeBucket - thanks! The 2 hour kindergarten thing meant that I was just catching up on a couple of threads on MN and not getting anything else done, so I needed a break. Amazing how quickly you get sucked back in though...

I was out at a posh martini bar tonight and drove home through the rain and broke one of the wheels on a large, invisible pothole. sad That's tomorrow's 2 hours taken care of then! Poor baby. Man the roads get churned up here as soon as the weather is bad. Our neighbours broke the back wheel and axle on their car this week too! Was it snowmageddon up in Washington?

envy of Santa Monica!

MrsOlf Fri 20-Jan-12 06:33:53

Hello everyone!
Dettoling my hands worked nicely but no time for Mumsnet due to huge amounts of washing created by the sick bug! At least when we get to Houston we'll have a tumble drier - washing hanging off banisters and radiators for 3 days was not good...
So all packing and cleaning plans completely derailed and I've got a party to organise for DDs this afternoon. I do like a challenge!
Thanks for the outing tips wentshopping as I would have been the Mum in the car park at opening time at the zoo surrounded by school coaches! How old are your DC?

wentshopping Fri 20-Jan-12 14:50:26

Hi MrsOlf I have 3 dds - 15, 14 and 10. I think I may have jinxed the weather for you - since I said it was lovely the other day it has gone muggy again, but at least cool muggy rather than hot. Tonight I am taking my older dds to a book signing by a teen writer -I think I will be oldest person there!
Girl my oldest dd is about to start learning to drive (eek age 15 in Texas), so I'll think of you!
Sydney I have bought tea on amazon on the food part of their (US) website before, but pg tips has now reappeared in the supermarket here.

MrsOlf Sat 21-Jan-12 06:36:12

15? Wow that is young. I've got to have a defensive driving lesson before I can drive the company car because it's considered a dangerous place to drive by DH's employer!
grin

kickassangel Sun 22-Jan-12 13:30:57

The attitude to driving around here still concerns me, one of our friends let her 14 year old drive up to 5 mile on a fairly regular basis. She thought it was OK as it wasn't very far and it was just like driving the mower round the garden! It was on v quiet roads but still shocking

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 22-Jan-12 18:12:00

argh, I"m going to seem a right old fogey at the ripe age of 28 aren't I?!

MmeBucket Sun 22-Jan-12 19:35:33

You'd better not be an old fogey, because I've got 10 years on you. (I've had my license for 22 years????)

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 22-Jan-12 20:40:41

I'll be an old fogey learner driver compared to the mid-teens apparently cruising America's roads!

Grockle Sun 22-Jan-12 20:46:51

Hello (from, um, Dorset grin)

Have just caught up on the thread. Lots of new names since my day here and nice to see some old faces smile Congrats nancy. Good luck to all movers.

Thanks for handblender advice, MmeBucket!

I need to make cornish pasties.

BabCNesbitt Sun 22-Jan-12 20:51:18

Mousey, I'm planning on learning after we leave NYC (only going to be there for 15 months or so), and I'll be 37 then! [old gimmer icon]

kickassangel Sun 22-Jan-12 23:33:43

Grockle! How are the hens? And ds, is he blissfully happy these days

Grockle Mon 23-Jan-12 17:17:31

Meh, DS is ok. Happy but misses his dad. Generally ok though & doing lots of things like Beavers and theatre classes.

Hens are fab - I got 3 more so now have 8 grin

How's things with you, Kickass? Surviving another Michigan winter? MmBucket, how is the lovely MrBucket?

kickassangel Mon 23-Jan-12 22:34:00

Surviving a v mild winter. Rain today

MmeBucket Tue 24-Jan-12 21:03:52

The lovely Mr. Bucket isn't his most lovely self today, because he had to get up to go to work at 2 am, and he just called to say they're having problems and won't be home until his normal time. But it is just a temporary blip on the lovely radar.

wentshopping Wed 25-Jan-12 22:44:55

MrsOlf brought some rain with her - hope you didn't get too wet today! We havent had a good storm like that for a while.

wentshopping Wed 25-Jan-12 22:57:45

ooh I've just noticed the smileys! smile Having lived in Scotland before coming here, I'll wish you all a Happy Burns Night.

tadjennyp Fri 27-Jan-12 05:52:20

We had a wee dram of Talisker, especially!

MrsOlf Fri 27-Jan-12 11:24:40

Sorry about the rain wentshopping! Just beginning to settle in to the house. DH has scored huge brownie points by finding us a beautiful house which the girls love.
Having a 2 hour driving lesson this morning - am very scared... Can't drive the company car until I've done it though. Wish me luck! smile

wentshopping Fri 27-Jan-12 14:59:25

Hi MrsOlf - don't worry about the driving you'll be fine. Just remember that everyone else is 1. on their cellphone; 2. only looking forwards, and never using mirrors or even turning thier head; 3. overtaking you because thats what they do all the time to gain a nanosecond. Are you in Royal Oaks? If so, Westheimer is a bit scary, but that is the worst road around here.

MmeBucket Fri 27-Jan-12 20:33:25

Good luck with the driving.

We started basketball here this week. 1st and 2nd graders playing basketball is ridiculous, IMHO. Oh well.

MrsOlf Sat 28-Jan-12 00:48:01

We are in Royal Oaks and it seems very nice, but quiet. The driving was ok and just need to sort the driving test now.

MajorB Mon 30-Jan-12 10:00:43

Hi,
Complete newbie here, hope you don't mind me joining in.

I'm currently in the UK, but we'll be moving to New York in the next 7-10 days with our 2 DCs (3 & 4 yrs).

Just wanted to pick your brains as to what we should definitely take with us?

Am in the early stages of packing, and still have the chance to get to the shops, and wanted to know if there any things you wished you'd packed but didn't, or remembered to pack which have proved invaluable?

Any comments gratefully received!

MrsOlf Tue 31-Jan-12 21:01:21

Hi MajorB
We just moved to Houston last week and There is a thread on exactly your question that I started about 4 weeks ago. Have a look for it as I got some great advice!
Good luck with the move. smile

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 01-Feb-12 22:44:26

Hi everyone

How's it all settling down MrsOlf? and good luck with the move MajorB

We have 3 weeks left to go, booking in DS with his grandparents and rounding up friends to hold DD while I crack on...so muhc to do but getting very excited now!

VintageNancy Thu 02-Feb-12 17:01:53

Exciting Girl! Hope it's all going well.

We've got a friend over from UK at moment so we've been skiing for a few days with him (well I didn't ski, not a good idea at 7 months preg) and I think we're going up to a redwood forest today.

wentshopping Thu 02-Feb-12 18:31:09

Hi MajorB - I seem to remember we had to not have any furniture which looked as if it was brand new for the move, and Houston at least is a dry port, so you can't have any wine or spirits in your shipment.
I do remember taking all the dc for new shoes a couple of days before we left, but there was no need really smile
The really invaluable thing was "feel better chocolate" - a good supply of buttons, galaxy, etc to distribute after immunizations - my dc had to have the full range as they were starting school here. (And I wish I had done them cheaper and less stressfully in the UK before we left)
Hello MrsOlf how are you settling-in?

MrsOlf Fri 03-Feb-12 12:12:17

I agree about the chocolate - been necessary for me and DDs this past couple of weeks.
We're settling ok and finding our way around. DD1 is finding it tough and is missing her school and friends. She's only 5 so it must be a lot tougher if DCs are older. DD2 (3) only misses people when DD1 reminds her to! grin

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 03-Feb-12 17:38:50

Is LA a dry port, does anyone know?! Stocking up on green and blacks....

kickassangel Fri 03-Feb-12 23:56:02

if you bring alcohol you have to pay import taxes, for both state & nation. it really isn't worth it. we just drank our alcohol collection before we left. it took 3 months of dedication

tadjennyp Sat 04-Feb-12 01:25:42

you could just buy duty-free at the airport?

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 04-Feb-12 08:28:42

oh ok - well we'll just have to drink our alcohol collection before we leave too then!

kickassangel Sat 04-Feb-12 13:04:22

We also had a drink the house dry and eat the cupboards empty party before we left. And dh's whiskey collection is at my parents so he has some when we go to visit.

It seems we had quite a lot of alcohol to get rid of smile

wentshopping Sat 04-Feb-12 14:32:52

I remember we also had to take all the batteries out of the kids' toys, as the batteries could not go in the shipment, so we rather bizarrely had a carrier bag of taped-together batteries in our carry-on luggage. What a waste of space/weight - as most of them had touched each other and had no power left when we tried putting them all back in the toys.
We drank/ate the cupboards empty before the packers came. But don't worry, you can buy wine, chocolate, batteries here!

kickassangel Sat 04-Feb-12 14:42:52

AND we ditched all our pens etc. Our things were going into storage for an unknown period. Imagine if a couple of biros leaked over stuff and it all sat there for 2 months. I cleaned the garden tools meticulously as well.

And, technically, you shouldn't be bringing in food, but that kind of gets ignored if you just have a couple of packets of chocolate in your luggage. (have been known to have one suitcase entirely filled with tea bags & chocolate).

I declare it at customs btw, and they're fine, but detroit is, apparently known for being lax (according to staff at Heathrow)

MrsOlf Sun 05-Feb-12 13:57:23

We declared our chocolate, biscuits, marmite, tea bags etc. They were fine about it at Houston but we did put it all in a bag in one suitcase, just in case they wanted to see what we had. Didn't fancy unloading all 8 cases in the middle of the airport!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 06-Feb-12 07:55:26

Really? You should declare tea bags and marmite?!

wentshopping Mon 06-Feb-12 15:04:59

Hi Girl when you fly over you are given a customs declaration form to complete on the plane. On this you have to declare various things ( live plants, bacteria etc) that you are unlikely to be carrying, but would need to be declared from a safety point of view. Also, you have to declare things you have purchased overseas, food etc - I usually have a list something like children's books, $25; clothing $150; candy $25 etc - don't write "sweets" as you'll get asked what it means. If the amount you are carrying looks reasonable for your family to be using there is no problem. This is a bit weird the first time you come over, but seems to make sense once you live here - it's the equivalent of the customs allowed amounts of things you can take into the UK, when visiting from abroad. Also, it is worth noting that in our airport the cases are inspected by sniffer dogs in the time it takes to get through security - sometimes up to an hour. (Go to the loo before you land, or you'll lose your place in the queue!) Don't bring any fresh fruit, veg or meat in your hand luggage... so if you have an apple for the journey, leave it on the plane when you land.

tadjennyp Mon 06-Feb-12 18:30:13

Sometimes they are happy just that you have written down 'chocolate', 'cookies', etc and don't need to see it, but I would have it all in the same bag just so you can bring it out if they do. Philadelphia weren't at all bothered, but Minneapolis and Seattle wanted to inspect everything, even a couple of jars of babyfood that had beef in it. I got away with it as it was processed. Don't forget also, that you have to go through customs at your first point of entry, so even if you are changing planes, you go through customs there.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 07-Feb-12 09:25:27

ok so any food/drink bought in the UK should be declared? to be honest I think it'll only be teabags, green and blacks and marmite!

tadjennyp Wed 08-Feb-12 00:58:09

Pretty much! Tea bags and marmite you can definitely get here but they are much more expensive. Green and Blacks are available in Whole Foods Market, but not sure if they have those where you are going. I miss stuff like Branston pickle and baked beans which I pick up here every now and again.

ElaineBenes Wed 08-Feb-12 19:45:06

Hi all,

Moving to NYC soon with my two kids and dh. I'm looking forward to it (kind of) and dreading it at the same time. I've been posting my dilemmas on here under another name but can't be bothered going back and forth to change it all the time grin - if I get outed, I get outed!

I'm leaving in April and am going to have to wait until June until my family can join us sad

Look forward to seeing you all on here!

tadjennyp Fri 10-Feb-12 19:13:10

Good luck with all the preps EB. It will be June before you know it!

MmeBucket Sat 11-Feb-12 01:00:15

Hi everyone! We've been hopelessly busy around here. But in a good way. Mostly.

We're headed your way in May, Tad.

Good luck with all of your moves to all the new people, and welcome.

tadjennyp Sat 11-Feb-12 06:10:11

Ooh, exciting, Mme Bucket! Should you need a tour guide, or fancy a coffee, or better still a beer in one of our many microbreweries, we'll be here! grin

MmeBucket Sat 11-Feb-12 20:18:59

Definitely, Tad. If you're going to be around. We're coming Memorial Day weekend. Maybe we can plan somewhere to meet for a bit. We're going to Sunriver with up to 17 other people, so it will be crazy around the house we're staying at.

tadjennyp Sun 12-Feb-12 00:53:12

Sounds like a blast! PM me nearer the time.

kickassangel Tue 14-Feb-12 23:39:27

So ... I had a momentary lapse of reason, picked up the GREEN nozzle at the gas station and put diesel in my car by mistake.

tadjennyp Wed 15-Feb-12 00:33:44

Did the nozzle actually fit? Dh tried to do that in California (Oregon is full-service only) and the nozzle wouldn't fit. Sorry if it has damaged your car, kickass.

kickassangel Wed 15-Feb-12 00:50:53

it fitted enough that i got 5 gallons in before i realised. a tow truck was later involved.

tadjennyp Wed 15-Feb-12 01:39:33

Sorry, I hope it is fixed soon and without too much expense. sad

kickassangel Wed 15-Feb-12 02:13:55

About $200 which is expensive but a lot better than it could have been. Dh asked why I didn't syphon it, but I thought syphoning was impossible with newer cars. I spoke to our regular garage and they didn't mention it either.

More concerned that dd has a sore throat and we are meant to be going to Disney on Fri

tadjennyp Wed 15-Feb-12 03:34:42

I also thought there was something to stop the backflow in newer cars. At least it wasn't the whole engine, but irritating nonetheless. I hope dd feels much better tomorrow and you have a fab time in Disney!

wentshopping Wed 15-Feb-12 14:03:01

Sorry to hear about the gas station lapse. I always do a double take (while filling) if I'm at a place with all green nozzles.
Which Disney are you going to - land or world? I'm taking dd3 to WDW in Spring Break while older dds are skiing. Getting just a little bit excited! Have a fantastic trip!

tadjennyp Wed 15-Feb-12 16:39:04

See, that's what I love about Oregon. You're not allowed to do it yourself! It saves that old Mumsnet dilemma about taking the kids out of the car to pay as they usually take your card without you having to get out!

Have a great time in WDW wentshopping and hope the older ones have a great time skiing!

kickassangel Wed 15-Feb-12 17:06:36

WDW in Florida.

It's 80 degress there atm, but due to drop to 70 & some rain at the weekend.

dd is beyond excited.

MrsOlf Wed 15-Feb-12 18:33:57

Enjoy WDW. We're hoping to take the girls later in the year and they're excited already! And so am I (secretly!) blush

MmeBucket Thu 16-Feb-12 22:21:47

Bummer about the gas, kickass. I wouldn't have known how to siphon.

Have fun at Disney. We were thinking of going this year, but the house needs painting and new carpet, so it will be put off (again).

kickassangel Sun 19-Feb-12 14:01:50

It is very Disney. I am done with rife consumerism after1 day. The parks are fun but the downtown area last night was my idea of hell. Massively crowded and expensive. We did get some good fish and chips though at an Irish chippie.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 19-Feb-12 20:34:19

Great to know you've found decent fish and chips even ins the midst of consumerist hell kickass!

We moved out of our flat yesterday, all our suitcases down to my folks while the relocates move in and pack ups everything for shipping. We fly on Thursday. And it's all kicking in now, feeling excited stil but really tears, especially saying goodbye to my mums, how will I cope being a mother of a newborn and toddler without the women who have seen me through the most difficult three years of my life so far? Can't quite believe I won't be able to call one of them and just pop over whenever I want, to met up with them several times a week to just get through the day! Boo sniff sniff

kickassangel Mon 20-Feb-12 03:29:00

oh gosh that is hard. we never lived near family so it isn't that different for us, really.

VintageNancy Tue 21-Feb-12 17:53:43

Girl I can sympathise. I'm wondering how I'm going to cope with a newborn with no family nearby to help. I think for me it will hit about 6 weeks after the baby is born when all our visitors have gone back to the UK (we have my mum for 2 weeks around my due date, then in-laws for 2 weeks, then BIL and SIL for 10 days!).

I highly recommend meetup.com for finding like-minded people. I've been to a couple of meetups now with mums and their babies, had coffee with another mum-to-be and have a dinner tomorrow night with some more mums-to-be due in the next few weeks. Some days it feels a bit daunting to go out and meet strangers but then I remember we're all in the same boat and doing it for the same reasons.

tadjennyp Tue 21-Feb-12 18:30:52

I didn't reply girl as I was felling really sad that ds2 has only met one set of grandparents so far and he had his first birthday 2 weeks ago. sad You will manage and you too Nancy, because you have to, but definitely best to stay away from threads on here where people are complaining about the gps not doing enough childcare etc. smile

Best of luck with both moves and the birth.

MrsOlf Wed 22-Feb-12 13:00:27

Girl and Nancy - I'm off to my first meetup today. It seems a good place to find mums with babies, toddlers and pre schoolers and the couple of groups I've contacted have been very friendly.
I know what you mean about leaving your mum friends. I'm missing them as much as my family but Skype has been great and my girls even had a virtual playdate with their best friends back home yesterday afternoon!

wentshopping Wed 22-Feb-12 15:24:36

Hi MrsOlf I hope you're settling in, and have found some similar age friends for your dds. I was just thinking about you, and wanted to let you know about the Rodeo, starting this weekend. (Whispers) we went for the first time last year...but that is because my youngest dd is in a wheelchair and can't really cope with lots of noise. Anyway, there is something called Trail Rides which is people recreating the old cattle trail rides into Houston, and apparently you can see them arrive over the next couple of days - I believe you can just stop and watch them on the feeder road of I10, for example. On Friday it is Go Western day at school, and so dd3 will be getting out her checked shirt and boots, and there'll be square dancing to go and watch!
Girl and Nancy I totally sympathise with you; my dds were born in the UK, but a day's drive from all gps. My kids don't know that some gps pop in for the afternoon, babysit for a few hours etc because they only know a long-distance relationship - the older two are teenagers now and love going to stay with them, even though it is only once a year.
Any tips on disney kick? DD3 is getting very excited as our holiday approaches.

MrsOlf Wed 22-Feb-12 21:12:58

Thanks for the info wentshopping. We're planning to go to the parade on Saturday - is there a best place to stand in the city centre? Will try to see the trail rides too as DDs, particularly DD2, love horses. We'll be off to buy cowboy boots and hats - DH has to go dressed for Texan day at work on Friday (seems a bit much...)
Still struggling to find playmates for DD1 (5). We've met a couple of girls through DH's work colleagues but that's it. The meetup group was lovely but all with toddlers and babies but we'll keep looking. The girls have started gymnastics classes, which they love, so that might be another route.

kickassangel Thu 23-Feb-12 03:03:07

went shopping - disney is quite surreal. very busy, crowded, materialistic etc. dd loved it. i don't like rides, don't really 'get' the Disney hype & just felt very tired from all the walking. Well done & slick though it is, it's just a theme park & posh motel imo! Still, if your kids love Disney they will really enjoy it. Not sure how long you're there for, or if you're staying in the park? Animal Kingdom & Magic Kingdom are the best. The light spectacle things are on late at night - which means you end up spending more time (and money) there as you wait for the 9 pm fireworks etc.

If you are staying in the park, you can get 'fastpasses' to the big rides, which was useful.

wentshopping Thu 23-Feb-12 14:44:56

MrsOlf - info from dd's school bus driver: trail riders don't come along Old Katy Rd any more, but come in from the west on Clay Rd - best place to see them is the McDonalds at Clay Rd and beltway 8 (it's on right side of feeder if you were going north on west beltway) at 10:30 am tomorrow. I'm a bit out of touch with your age group of kids because my youngest is 10, but I would have thought gymnastics should generate some play dates. Feel free to pm if you want.
kick I'm getting mentally prepared for the commercial onslaught - dd loves Disney, and Mickey in particular; like you I don't like big rides, but we are limited to wheelchair accessible rides, or ones where she can sit on my knee (she can't sit unaided), so I'm counting on the wheelchair lines being not too bad, and getting fast passes for the things she enjoys the most. At least it's only me doing the walking! We are staying in the park, so I'm planning on taking a break each day at the hotel, then going back for fireworks before bedtime.

MrsOlf Fri 24-Feb-12 14:52:24

wentshopping thank you! We'll make our way up there shortly. I think the girls will be very excited.

kickassangel Fri 24-Feb-12 15:52:07

shopping - I know that there's wheelchair access to a lot of things, but not sure how it works. A LOT of people seem to rent those scooter chair things, but they don't get any quicker access - they just sit in the line in scooters then get out. The rides say at the entrance if you need to be able to get out of a wheelchair to access them, but almost all of them, if you can get dd into the seat, then she'll be ok.

i think that if you want to leave the park & return later you may need to buy the 'park hopper' option, although that may not apply to you if you have a wheelchair. the buses that run also cope v well with chairs & they will make sure you're settled before anyone else is allowed on. One of my friends said that it's best to go early in the morning, avoid 12 - 2, so go back to the room for a nap, then head back in around 3 & take in the shows. the big shows at night are v impressive.

I would contact them beforehand to check any details.

if she loves mickey, the magic kingdom is the place to go - even the shelving brackets have mickey ears on them to fit shelves into. They are VERY dedicated to their branding. there's also parades during the day when she will be able to dance with characters & be showered in mickey-shaped confetti in front of the cinderella castle.

and you can buy mickey ears in just abour any colour/pattern you can imagine. even grown men wear them around the park ...

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 26-Feb-12 04:32:57

we're here!!! eeeeek...arrived 2 days ago, DS was sick this morning so we holed up really, got mobiles and been to the beach. Feels very much in limbo at the moment - not on holiday but not a permanent move either...

MrsOlf Sun 26-Feb-12 13:10:49

Welcome •girl*! Hope your little one is better soon - the first few days feels a bit strange but once your stuff arrives and you get an idea of where everything is, you settle down into a routine pretty quickly. Shout if you have any questions smile

kickassangel Sun 26-Feb-12 13:55:47

I suddenly feel like one of the old timers on this thread, but we've only been here 3 years. In rl I still find things where I haven't a clue what I'm doing.

tadjennyp Mon 27-Feb-12 18:08:45

Welcome girl . Hope ds is better soon.

Know exactly what you mean kickass. Nearly four years for us already!

kickassangel Mon 27-Feb-12 23:28:02

I know - I hope people feel welcome here. It's one of the 'safest' threads I've been on in mn. It used to be about my only communication with people when we first moved here, so I always like when people come on & start asking questions - I feel like I'm passing on the good karma from when I was so afraid bewildered.

MrsOlf Tue 28-Feb-12 04:34:51

You've made me feel very welcome - I was very much a lurker before we found out we were moving but I've always felt I can ask any question over here without fear of being laughed or sneered at smile

tadjennyp Tue 28-Feb-12 04:36:46

smile

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 28-Feb-12 18:03:54

I'm not having a great day, DD was up and down all night, DS up for the day pre-6am, had dreams all night about my friends at home, just feeling a bit stranded and isolated but I know we just need to get out and do stuff and get to know it all....

VintageNancy Tue 28-Feb-12 18:21:27

Welcome to California Girl.

You will have days when everything feels completely shit and so hard so don't worry. If you can get out for a walk that might help a bit - enjoy the sunshine! Things do get better and you'll find your stride. I wanted to get on a plane & go home several times at the beginning (especially with the healthcare stresses). Nearly 3 months on and I feel like I've been here for much longer - it's becoming home! grin

tadjennyp Tue 28-Feb-12 19:08:04

It's always a good idea to get out and explore the neighbourhood if you can girl , even if you are the only one out walking. Find the local playparks and let the little ones run around till they need a nap. And then take one yourself. Sleep deprivation and homesickness are not a good combination.

MrsOlf Tue 28-Feb-12 20:36:49

I've had several days like that sad but it does get easier very quickly - promise.

kickassangel Tue 28-Feb-12 22:36:19

Yes, you really are very new here. If you moved areas in the UK you would be feeling like this anyway, but it's hard to remember that.

It took me weeks to get over jet lag, so I was short of sleep for ages, and it was winter soon after we arrived, so everyone shut indoors & I had nowhere to go. Now I wonder if I'll ever want to move back to the UK - I like the space & lack of crowds, the lower cost of living, and really enjoy my job.

Every time I go back to the UK I get culture shock at just how crowded & dirty it is! It only takes a few days to re-adjust, but I find it hard to remember what it's like to be stuck in traffic etc. My parents live in the SE, very busy, and I really don't enjoy travelling around there.

wentshopping Wed 29-Feb-12 15:38:18

I can remember those days too girl, I just used to pack all the dds into the car and drive round exploring (Houston's not really a walking city). It does you good to take the odd day "off", with no unpacking, attempting paperwork, etc.

mtw Thu 01-Mar-12 02:47:24

Anyone in Atlanta GA?

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 02-Mar-12 04:47:03

thanks all, I know it just takes time and getting to know it, and I'm feeling the pressure a little to let everyone at home know how amazing the sun and beach are (which of course they ARE!) and I know that sleep deprivation doesn't help.

I really need to get going with driving lessons so I can be a bit more flexible - where we are at the mo is ok because the buses run to a few places but we fell in love with a house today which is terrible for anything in walking distance and the nearest bus is a good 15min walk away, not great for dragging the 3yr old around.

Chatted to a random mum in the library today though having had no success at the park, have met up with a friend of a friend who's an English mum and have booked in a non child evening of wine with another theatre director who got in touch with my company just before I left so I just need to keep garnering those relationships, making friends and it'll be easier - but it's nice to have somewhere to moan where people understand so thankyou!

LA just feels so massive and I don't think I've left Santa Monica/Mar Vista/Venice Beach yet!!

VintageNancy Fri 02-Mar-12 16:29:58

Good to hear you're meeting people Girl. Driving will definitely help you I think. When we were first here we only had one car which was really hard as it meant I couldn't go anywhere when DH was at work unless I dropped him off and picked him up which was at least a 30 min journey each way.

kickassangel Sat 03-Mar-12 02:23:26

mtw - I have a feeling there may be someone else, but can't remember who.

MrsOlf Sat 10-Mar-12 08:20:33

Hello all. I've got a question about chicken pox vaccination. My DC will probably start school in August but need to have complete vaccinations first. DD2 had chicken pox at 5 months old so will she still need vaccination? What did you do about vaccinating? Any advice And info gratefully received!
Thank you!

wentshopping Sun 11-Mar-12 06:22:31

Hi MrsOlf firstly, apologies for all this rain... we really need it after last year, but really.....
My dd1 and dd2 had already had chickenpox when we moved here, so they have not had the vaccination - I just had to give the dates of when they had it - and I had dd3 vaccinated. She was fine, and has never come into contact with any peers with chickenpox. Having said that, I know a local family whose kids were vaccinated as babies, and both caught chickenpox aged about 10 or 11, as this is when the vaccine "wears off" or so I was told. These are the same kids who got the flu after the flu vaccine. sad

wentshopping Sun 11-Mar-12 06:26:18

and another thing - I found it helped to "translate" the UK vaccination records - ie. give the doctor's office a copy of the list with the dates written the US way, otherwise they will not understand when you had all of the baby ones done. My school nurse gave me a form to fill in from the school district which was used as proof of chickenpox and other vaccinations.

Hello all. Well I was just starting to feel like a bit of an old timer too having moved to Houston more than a year ago now, but it looks very much like we may be moving to Dallas - still in the States I know, but still another move and somewhere new to find our way around and try to get settled again... So the question is, is anyone in Dallas??

Earlybird Sun 11-Mar-12 17:36:07

Hello - anyone have knowledge/experience of things to do in San Diego on holiday? Am currently contemplating a spring break visit to LA, with a side trip to San Diego for a few days. Hotel and restaurant suggestions would be gratefully received also.

tadjennyp Fri 16-Mar-12 16:19:13

Don't know about Dallas, but it sounds so exotic!

I had to explain some of the vaccinations from the redbook too, as they also have different names sometimes! You usually have to present the vaccination record at registration, so you have a bit of time yet.

Love SD! We went Memorial Day week last year when ds2 was still only tiny and had a wonderful time. Loved the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park though it is a way out of SD. Went to the beach at Coronado which was a really cute little town, though everyone loves La Jolla. The little old town was quite cute and there was a little Mexican restaurant there which was great. We weren't there very long as it was a long drive to Oregon and back but I really recommend it. We took the kids to Legoland on the way back up which dd and ds1 really liked.

<waves to everyone else>

MrsOlf Sat 17-Mar-12 08:21:04

Hi Mamil. Dallas sounds exciting. There was a thread on Dallas about 6 months ago I think. I'm sure I was on it for a bit as Dallas was an option for us at that point.

DH's boss was off there last year and his wife, who loves Houston and has been here for 3 years, couldn't wait to move there. They didn't get there in the end and I know the whole family was v disappointed.

Just back from UK yesterday, hence awake in middle of night...

kickassangel Sat 17-Mar-12 08:46:09

Hello!

Just got power back after our cute little town got hit by a tornado!

We are fine, but it was within a quarter mile of our house so a very close call. We have friends who have damage. Amazingly there were 0 fatalities. Some people came out of their basements to find no house left at all, so really quite dramatic.

Unless you are 8. Apparently being stuck in the basement with no power and a mum who doesn't let you look out the window (I wonder why) is the most boring thing ever.

sanserif Sat 17-Mar-12 20:06:11

Hello,

Sorry to barge in on this thread, but I posted elsewhere without much response so thought I'd try over here. We've just decided to move to San Francisco where DH is originally from (woohoo!). Our DS would have been due to start Reception in 2013 here in London, so Kindergarten in 2014. I've already toured far too many schools here since we were originally going to move for the school, and while he's not in school yet, I feel like I have an idea of what they're like here.

I went to American int'l schools, which are sort of a thing of their own, so not really comparable to 'regular' state schools. What are the big differences I'm likely to encounter, given that I'm going from one urban area to another?

Things I've picked up from the internets seem to be: at least in SF you crazily only get art/music/science if you get into a school with an active, fundraising PTA, parental involvement seems a lot higher, very different start times for different schools, less recess and P.E., foreign language learning taken much more seriously (lots of immersion programs, etc.), smaller classes. What else?

Look forward to joining this thread 'full time' once we make the move!

tadjennyp Sat 17-Mar-12 23:02:57

Tornado, kickass. Sounds scary to me. Glad you are ok. Was going to ask you if you'd seen the Northern Lights this week.

I don't know much about schools in SF as each state and district is different. There are definitely immersion programs for Spanish though. I have heard that some schools ask for quite a lot of money at the beginning of each year in SF to fund these extras. Good luck.

kickassangel Sun 18-Mar-12 03:18:18

Serif, no idea about schools in SF sorry. But there is generally a lot more parental involvement and social life around the school.

The tornado was pretty scary - strong enough to lift an entire house up (F3) so amazed that no-one was hurt. We have amazing sunshine and close to 80 degrees now, totally not typical March weather but very helpful to the disaster services clearing up the town.

sanserif Mon 19-Mar-12 17:06:34

OK, thanks.

tadjennyp Sat 24-Mar-12 00:36:51

Hope everyone has a lovely Spring Break!

MmeBucket Sat 24-Mar-12 01:47:37

All almost 2 1/2 weeks of it. (Sigh)

Things have been crazy here. I ended up in the ER, and subsequently found out that my best option to stop having to do that was to have a hysterectomy. So I'm slightly over a week past having surgery. They knicked an artery in the first 10 seconds of the operation, but I am healing way ahead of schedule, anyway.

I got the clear to drive, but traffic is all messed up here, so I'm going to have to wait to go anywhere fun. We live in a city of about 25,000, and are basically up on a hill, and they're redoing the major road that connects us with the freeway, and have shut it down for the next 4 days. They're rerouting all traffic to about 2 smaller side streets, and causing 4 hour traffic delays, since it isn't just our city, but a bunch of small towns out farther that are all fighting to get just about anywhere but our city. They already shut down a bridge due to construction almost a year ago that won't open for a few months, which would have been another way to get out of town, but decided that now would be the best time to shut down the major road, too. hmm Poor DH isn't home, and he had an early day at work, and should have been home about 3 hours ago.

kickassangel Sat 24-Mar-12 01:58:47

That all sounds pretty crap!

When we moved here we were told that there are 2 seasons, winter and construction.

Weather here has been fab - 80 degrees and sunny. Usually don't get this til May.

I have spent a couple of days lying in the sun as I have just found out I'm low thyroid and Vit D. So sunshine is on dictor's orders right now.

Hope you get better soon mme

VintageNancy Sat 24-Mar-12 02:14:51

Wishing you a speedy recovery MmeBucket. Traffic situation sounds crap sad

Pitmountainpony Sat 24-Mar-12 04:23:03

Welcome Girlwithmouseyhair. Honestly once you get out and about you will meet loads of mums-there are so many ex pats in SAnta Monica too- we are eastside so rarely come your way. Check out that lovely library you have- if they have storytime get yourself to it is my advice. I have made all my lovely mum friends via library story times and meetup.com is also fab.Before you know it you will have a great network and be busy each day with something to do.
Check out the Annenberg Pool once it opens 1 st may- lovely place to hang out down there on the beach and the Getty Villa is just up the road from you.
I can send you a list of all the free stuff to do with kids in LA if you like.
This city is full of possibilities- you will love it once settled in.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 24-Mar-12 05:02:29

Pitmountainpony thankyou so so much for the list, very gratefully received! Actually we do go to SM library! Storytime is lovely there....

Sorry for the silence, laptop had milk poured over it (thanks DS) so been checking on my phone and it is so much to scroll through! Earthquakes and Legoland and Dallas, all sounds very exciting...

DS has hit a wall in adapting brilliantly, turns out he just didn't realise this was for good and is seriously acting out now. Tyring to remain patient and calm but on top of sleeplessness induced by 4month old DD I feel like a bit of a shit mum right now

kickassangel Sat 24-Mar-12 05:24:34

We had that with dd. she was quite happy at first, then realized it wasn't just a holiday

tadjennyp Wed 04-Apr-12 22:09:04

Where is everybody???

VintageNancy Wed 04-Apr-12 23:04:39

I'm here. Waiting for a baby, not much else to say smile.

Hope things are getting better with DS girl

tadjennyp Thu 05-Apr-12 17:52:30

Hope you are taking this time to put your feet up Nancy! Good luck with the impending birth.
Hope Ds is ok girl.

MrsOlf Sat 07-Apr-12 05:20:23

Good luck with the baby Nancy - how exciting!
Girl - my two are just coming out of feeling like this and are now very happy to be here. It may just be the sun coming out more and the pool in the garden(!) but I don't mind what the reason is, at least they are easier to live with now. smile

spamm Sat 07-Apr-12 05:54:51

Girl - it was really hard with ds at first. I remember when he used to cry : "I want to go home to England" every time he got told off. But two and a bit years down the road and he has adapted well. He was 4 and a half when we arrived.

You just need to stay consistent with him and show him that everything will be fine. The two thing si think helped most was starting local activities - soccer and summer camp - and sticking to his routine with no changes from the uk, early bed and plenty of sleep.

Good luck!

ElaineBenes Sat 14-Apr-12 02:06:56

I can't believe it's happened but I'm here in New York City! Waves to all the New Yorkers and in fact anyone in the tristate area!!!

Spent 10 minutes cursing the effing lift which kept on beeping everytime I pressed 0 for the ground floor and ended up with super sweet coffee because I said yes when they asked if I wanted a 'regular' coffee but hey-ho, guess that's part of the fun smile

FSB Mon 16-Apr-12 16:32:39

Hi, just marking my place here... English mum of one with Aussie hubbie moving to California in June - eek blush

Any tips greatly received, either about the move or after. DD will be nearly 3

grin

VintageNancy Tue 17-Apr-12 01:00:23

Hi everyone, catching up with MN while my brand new DD snuggles on me. smile

FSB where in California are you moving to? I'm in San Jose. Been here since Dec.

Elaine hope you're settling in well.

kickassangel Tue 17-Apr-12 02:58:28

Aah - Nancy, congrats.

Hope Mme B is getting better.

I went back to blighty for a week. Suddenly got a bit homesick for it - I may know how naff all that Cath Kidston stuff is, and would turn my nose up at it if I lived in the UK, but for some reason, living in the US makes me yearn for printed cotton tea cloths & union jack crapola.

Hopandaskip Tue 17-Apr-12 04:47:36

Hullo from San Diego. We've been here for 13 yrs.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 17-Apr-12 06:32:58

Yay congrats Nancy - how was the birth? What have you called her?

Where are you moving to FSB? We moved to LA 6 weeks ago with 3yo DS and 3mo DD

I am missing proper cities more than I miss home particularly ATM. LA is weird, big and sprawling but the traffic is so bad nobody really leaves their little area. I don't like it. Residential streets are alright but the bloody dual carriage way boulevards are doing my nut. I've discovered some areas I like but we can't live in them because they're either too expensive or the commute would be horrendous for DH

Have rented a house though which we love so just waiting for our stuff to clear through customs then hopefully it'll get easier. But right now I either want to go home to London or move to NYC/SF or another proper city....

kickassangel Tue 17-Apr-12 12:10:03

Hop, how do you feel after 13 years? Do you miss home still or prefer the US?

FSB Tue 17-Apr-12 14:15:46

Congrats nancy on your DD [flowers]

We will be in San Carlos... Not sure where that is in relation to anywhere else, except I've already discovered that there is a train to San fran that takes nearly 40mins (typical londoner - got to learn to drive..!)

I can imagine everywhere is going to feel enormous because everything's more spaced out there... We are quite localised these days where we are, so that wouldn't bother me so much (as long as its a nice area)... My cousin lived in LA for a year last year and loved it, but I'm hoping San Carlos is going to be more relaxed/less chaotic...

Hopandaskip Tue 17-Apr-12 16:10:27

Kick, I miss our family and friends more than home itself. This feels more like home most of the time. I still have the occasional hiccough with the language though. On sunday my friend took me out for a birthday brunch and she asked me what a 'roulade' was. I struggled to remember the American for 'swiss roll' for quite some time.

Mousey, we moved here right before our eldest turned three! Welcome to So Cal! I'm not a huge fan of L.A. -- although certain bits are nicer than others -- but there are so many things to do there.

FSB, our friends used to live in Burlingame which is north of you. They ended up moving across the bay because it was too chilly on the peninsula. They used to live in Hotlanta though and the weather shouldn't have that sort of effect on a Londoner.

tadjennyp Tue 17-Apr-12 18:55:34

Congratulations Nancy! Enjoy that lovely snuggly newborn stage!

Welcome Elaine. Would love to visit NYC.

Have planned 3 weeks in the UK this summer kickass. Not looking forward to the flights with a toddler on my lap though!

Hello Hopskip. I went to San Diego on holiday last year and loved it! We drove through LA on the way to SD girlwiththemouseyhair and didn't fancy stopping there at all!

Good luck with the move FSB.

Might be finally getting some spring here in Central Oregon. It was snowing last week but seems to have got sunny again now!

MrsOlf Wed 18-Apr-12 18:50:50

Congrats Nancy. That snugly newborn stage is so lovely it almost tempts to try for number 3, if we weren't so far away from home! wink
We've just had a lovely few days in San Fran and we're off to Yosemite and National Sequoia Parks, then back up the coast road to SF. Any tips on places to go with a 3 and 5 year old along the way?

kickassangel Wed 18-Apr-12 19:45:11

Can't remember any specifics but did that trip about 15 years ago and it was great. Enjoy

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 18-Apr-12 20:28:25

Way to make me feel better about living in this city for the next few years guys hmm

Does anyone know the best way to send stuff to a BFPO address? My brother's on tour in Afghanistan so packages under 2kg would be free from home, will the post office here or ups do me a good deal?

tadjennyp Thu 19-Apr-12 01:02:44

Sorry, GirlWithTheMouseyHair. blush To be fair, the highway doesn't pass through anywhere nice, though the 405 looked a bit more promising, but by then it was dark!

Does he work on a joint base? Is there an AFPO address he could maybe use? The Post Office do a box (in different sizes) that costs the same whatever you post , though it is quite expensive to post international.

MumPaula Thu 19-Apr-12 17:00:31

Hello, I hope you don't mind if I jump in here. I'm new to the site and we are living in Northern California in the hills, planning our return home to Wales.
I have three children although two are no longer children, oldest already moved himself back to Wales after finishing Uni here and next will follow after high school graduation this June, so just me, Dh and little Dd (age7) left to move. House to do up and sell then off we go, so I'm hoping for next Spring.

tadjennyp Thu 19-Apr-12 17:26:16

Hello MumPaula! Whereabouts in the hills are you? I live in Central Oregon so have driven through Northern California a couple of times on the way to SF and further south. In fact our favourite motel is the railroad one in Dunsmuir. Have you got a house to go back to?

MumPaula Thu 19-Apr-12 18:47:40

No house to go back to, the plan years ago was to sell up and buy one for cash. That idea went down the toilet with the property market, we will buy my Mums house and probably need a small mortgage, depends what this finally goes for.
We are in the hills above the central valley East of Stockton/Lodi area. On the way to Tahoe.
My biggest worry, will my Dd fit in at school and will we be able to find jobs!!! But family first, and Mum is getting older so we want to be close, no family left for me there and sister just moved to Spain a few years back for work.
I have some friends who went to Dunsmuir and rode trains with the kids they had a lovely time. With school schedules and Dh's work we don't get much traveling in. Shame theres so much to see.

VintageNancy Fri 20-Apr-12 05:57:57

Thank you for all the congratulations! thanks. I can't believe that this time last week I was in labour. grin

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 20-Apr-12 18:18:25

sorry tadjenny am being over sensitive and instead just need to se the great things about our new home - spent Saturday in Little Tokyo and yesterday DD and I andered rond Venice after a baby class, hung out on the beach, got an amazing vegan lunch and walked miles in the sunshine through Santa Monica - it really isn't that bad!!

We move into our house on Monday, I'm so excited!!

Hopandaskip Fri 20-Apr-12 18:25:18

Girlwith, have you been to the botanical gardens in pasadena yet?

Tadjenny, you should obviously come back again then!! grin

Hopandaskip Fri 20-Apr-12 18:32:05
GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 20-Apr-12 18:48:32

oh amazing! No we haven't - we've been the Asia Pacific Museum in Pasadena which was very sweet (and had some amazing sushi - can't get enough of it out here!)

tadjennyp Fri 20-Apr-12 18:50:01

Nope, saw none of those things from the highway, though passed junctions to places that sound v exciting, Santa Monica being one of them, Pasadena another! The weather may have turned here. It's in the 70s all weekend! Have great weekends all. smile

Hopandaskip Fri 20-Apr-12 19:32:58
MmeBucket Mon 23-Apr-12 22:24:30

Hi, all. Kickass, yes I am doing quite well in recovery, I just found that real life got extremely busy and have had a hard time keeping up. I'd be doing great right now if DS didn't bring home some sort of cold/flu bug that has been decimating his class, and he didn't give it to me. At least he didn't get it nearly as bad as I did.

tadjennyp Wed 25-Apr-12 06:25:00

Glad you are recovering well MmeBucket. Hope you are able to enjoy some of this sunshine too!

mummytime Belgium Wed 25-Apr-12 06:33:08

MumPaula, if you are not moving back to a tiny remote Welsh village I think your daughter will adapt fine, and its a good thing for your to move back soon, especially if you haven't taught her Welsh.

MumPaula Wed 25-Apr-12 20:26:14

No we haven't taught her Welsh I can't remember much of it to be honest. The village school is 50/50 Welsh English so I hope it'll be OK. She'll be going from an Elementary school with over 700 kids to a school with 60. Culture shock confused

MmeBucket Thu 26-Apr-12 00:23:19

It's baseball season. I've been "enjoying" the rain, mostly, but have loved the past few days. Hope for good weather, because the season starts Saturday.

CheerfulYank Thu 26-Apr-12 00:42:12

Hey everyone. smile Yay for baseball! DS (he's 4) plays Tball and DH coaches, which is fun. smile

tadjennyp Thu 26-Apr-12 01:39:42

What is Tball exactly? Are the bat and ball shorter/softer?

CheerfulYank Thu 26-Apr-12 02:27:26

The ball sits on a tee like this, since the little ones don't have the hand-eye coordination to hit a pitched ball. The balls are usually Wiffle balls. smile

tadjennyp Thu 26-Apr-12 02:31:19

Cute! Cheers, Cheerful!

kickassangel Thu 26-Apr-12 03:35:25

Dd had a go at t-ball and knocked it miles. I was going to sign her up but then discovered that the youngsters had their practice at 8 am so decided to keep my Sat am lie in.

MmeBucket Thu 26-Apr-12 04:33:06

My DD is in t-ball and my husband coaches.(Which is not fun, because I get stuck with all of his communication and administration duties and being on the bench keeping them in line and in their batting order) My DS has graduated to the next level, where the coach pitches, but they can get out. They do t-ball here, but they usually get about 5 or so pitches to hit it before they give them the tee. I loved it up until this year, when I was asked to buy a few things for our snack shack, and that turned into running it, scheduling, and somehow I turned into a board member without anyone asking.

CrookedUsage Thu 26-Apr-12 19:32:37

Hello all, I'm a first time Mum to a 3 month old. I emigrated from London to NYC 2 years ago, (the husband is a local). I just joined Mumsnet, looking for some advice and camaraderie.....I miss English people

tadjennyp Thu 26-Apr-12 21:54:43

Welcome crooked. There were a few posters from that area but the thread has been a bit quiet of late. There is a mix of expats and local American MNers on here. I'm from Lincoln but in Oregon at the moment.

Grockle Thu 26-Apr-12 21:59:32

<waves>

kickassangel Thu 26-Apr-12 23:35:43

I love NYC but do wonder what it is like to live there. Do you enjoy it?

CrookedUsage Fri 27-Apr-12 01:10:14

Thanks for the welcomes and waves.
Kickass - It's a mixed bag. I love Manhattan because it still always makes me feel like a tourist and it's fun to feel like you're on holiday (I had to stop myself writing vacation) while in the city you live in. My husband hates NY and we talk about moving all the time. Somewhere less intense, where people are more polite and driving isn't as aggravating (like Oregon perhaps?). I think it depends on your personality though. There's a reason a lot of New Yorkers think it's the greatest city in the world.

tadjennyp Fri 27-Apr-12 01:42:50

The funniest thing about Oregon is that you can be driving through some rural village in the middle of nowhere and there will be a road sign warning of congestion! smile NYC is definitely on my list of places to go.

kickassangel Fri 27-Apr-12 01:50:39

Yep. People round here talk about being stuck in traffic. There are 2 sets of traffic lights in downtown, hardly a busy city

MmeBucket Fri 27-Apr-12 03:34:27

Welcome, Crooked.

I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you ladies. DS has a school assignment where his class is trying to get a postcard from all 50 states. Unfortunately, DH and I have fairly large families who all only llive in Oregon and California, which is about where 90% of the post cards will be coming from. I was wondering if any of you were willing if I could CAT you to get an address and his class will send you a letter, and then you can send them a post card, or I could see if it is ok with is teacher if I just send you his name and teacher's name and address and you could send them a post card. If you don't want to, I totally understand, I just thought I'd try to take advantage of MN, since we seem to not have a circle of friends that aren't within 200 miles of us.

kickassangel Fri 27-Apr-12 04:04:52

Cat me. No problem

MmeBucket Fri 27-Apr-12 04:20:51

Ok. I think I'll get the gist of whatever letter it is they're putting out, and CAT you with that. That way it takes an extra step out, and they only have enough stamps for 2 letters each. Thanks.

ElaineBenes Fri 27-Apr-12 04:49:36

hi crooked, I'm a new New Yorker now for all of nearly 3 weeks! What part of NYC do you live in? We've decided on Queens

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 27-Apr-12 06:58:45

Welcome Crooked - lucky you, I adore NYC and wish we'd gone there. I lived in the east village for 6 weeks when I was 21 and went back to stay for a few weeks just before DS was born.

Would do the postcard thingy but I'm in California too.

Finally moved into our house. It is massive, with a garden, I feel very spoilt, and made friends with some Brit mums who are up fr spending sunny afternoons drinking wine in the sunshine, thank god

CrookedUsage Fri 27-Apr-12 12:46:35

Mme bucket - I'd probably say yes If I knew what CAT meant.
Hello Elaine, welcome to NYC! I live in Queens too. How are you settling in?
Mousey, California is actually one of the states we're considering moving to. Grass is always greener I suppose smile

MmeBucket Fri 27-Apr-12 16:38:11

Thanks. CAT is just actually when you click on the message poster thing in the blue bar where your username is it will send you a private message via e-mail so no personal details are on this thread for the whole world to see. Like I said, I think a better idea is if I can just get the gist of the letter and then send it and the address of DS' school to reply to via a private message and just cut out the snail mail step. His teacher is the oldest teacher there, and is past retirement age as far as teachers go, and I know that she's not quite totally made the jump into social media ideas yet.

Grockle Fri 27-Apr-12 18:27:27

I could get a friend to send you one from Illinois if you need one, MmeBucket?

wentshopping Sat 28-Apr-12 00:01:39

I can send you one from Texas MmeB.

Grockle Sat 28-Apr-12 00:36:30

And possibly Alaska but only if you let me know soon!

MmeBucket Sat 28-Apr-12 02:14:39

Thanks so much, ladies. I will be taking you up on that. I was going to find out exactly what they needed today, but DS' teacher was sick, so I'll find out most likely Tuesday of next week. Grockle, I've got a message to a friend in Illinois, but by the looks of their Facebook, they are on what appears to be a several week vacation, so I'll let you know.

kickassangel Sat 28-Apr-12 03:26:32

Possibly Ohio as well depending on the timing

Mmebucket - not sure if you have any New Yorkers, but feel free to PM me if needed.

Hello Elaine and Crooked - I'm on the island, but can see Queens from my window.

Spuddybean Sat 28-Apr-12 10:55:42

Hi All - Hope you are well and having better weather than we are!

I will be joining you across the pond in a couple of months. I have posted a new thread asking for much needed advice. I would really appreciate if anyone could help with something they only realised once they go there!

At the moment all i can think of is packing marmite and brown sauce!

We will be looking at rentals in DC. Anyone know any good agents/areas? We like Arlington but are open to suggestions.

Thanks smile

Grockle Sat 28-Apr-12 12:24:17

Ok, FB me. Not sure how long my friend is in Alaska so let me know if you need that one too. Hope the Bucket family are ok smile I feel like a forriner on these threads now. They've changed a lot since they started!

MmeBucket Sat 28-Apr-12 14:34:28

Thanks, all. I'll get back to you in a few days when I hear something. For now, I think I'll go track down Jabber on FB, too.

tadjennyp Mon 30-Apr-12 17:48:35

Hello Spuddybean. Hope the move goes smoothly.

Haven't heard from Jabber in ages! Hope she is ok. I could send you a postcard from Bend, but that's at all helpful, sorry! Good luck MmeB!

MmeBucket Tue 01-May-12 00:27:22

Going by Facebook, she looks like she is very busy and having fun.

I think it might take a bit longer to get back to you all, sorry. It turns out that DS' teacher wasn't sick, she had a death in the immediate family and won't be back until later in the week. sad

MmeBucket Tue 01-May-12 21:19:49

So it looks like all DS needs for his project is a short letter or postcard with a little blurb about the state it is coming from. I'll be PMing the address to those who wanted to help. Thank you all.

Look forward to hearing from you Mme! If you are quick with the address I can send two - we are travelling coast to coast on the California Zephyr next week.

MmeBucket Wed 02-May-12 01:34:13

Thanks, I think I sent them all out now, hopefully.

BabCNesbitt Wed 02-May-12 02:51:11

Hi all - sorry, posted upthread about moving to the US and then disappeared for a bit! Elaine, we're also new to NYC (arrived 1 March from London, living in Manhattan). Crooked, just wondering how long it took you to get settled and feel at home here?

Actually, that's a question for everyone, because I've been feeling really homesick for the last couple of weeks and keep secretly hoping that DH (who's American) will eventually look for a job back in the UK! I joined a new moms group (DD is 6 months old), but most of the discussion so far has been about finding nannies or daycare. We're going out and exploring the city, but I'm not sure how else to go about meeting new people, and being homesick is making me unreasonably irritated with lots of things about NYC/the US, which isn't really the right attitude to have!

tadjennyp Wed 02-May-12 18:03:00

I found joining a class really helped BabC, as then you are at least with like-minded people. At least NYC is relatively close to the UK in terms of the amount of flights/flight time. I'm sure you'll settle down soon, it just takes a while!

Hopandaskip Wed 02-May-12 19:03:38

Spuddy, I can get marmite and brown sauce here. Thornton's and pickled onion monster munch are a different matter though.

Babc, have you looked for a SAHM group? Try meetup.com.

Hi Bab and welcome to NYC.

I think it can be really hard to settle here because it's soooo different to home. Although I work with other ex-pats, we all tend to go our own way at the end of the working day, unlike other (3rd world) postings where there's usually somewhere where people congregate. It took me a long time, mainly because DS2 was deeply unhappy here and didn't settle. What does make me feel settled is recognising people (and them recognising me - so when I go to the dry cleaners they know my name, when we go for noodles at the weekend they say hello and ask where the DS's are if they aren't with us, when I go to the Pret on the corner for a sandwich/coffee they ask where DH is because 9 times out of 10 we go together and it makes me feel like I belong here smile).

Give yourself time - I was talking to someone last week who hated it this time last year, and loves it now that she has a network of friends (all made via her toddler, who as tadjenny suggests, attended a number of different classes.

CrookedUsage Thu 03-May-12 15:18:36

Hi Bab, I concur. Making a couple of friends via activities makes all the difference. I felt really lonely and home sick for the first six months. Then we moved to a different neighbourhood, I made a couple of friends, and started feeling much more settled after a year. I remember being so upset after I got a ticket for parking facing the wrong direction. My husband thought it was funny, but it made me feel so frustrated and out of place. Now I feel a bit out of place when I visit London, which is the strangest feeling. I still miss the chocolate though. Moving to America did wonders for my waistline.

BabCNesbitt Fri 04-May-12 02:07:21

Actually, I've put on about half a stone since moving here because it's such a great place to be vegan! We've been getting through a tub of So Delicious ice cream every few days. grin

There are a couple of classes and activities I want to try - just need to express enough milk so that DH can look after DD for a while. I'm also feeling a bit guilty about spending DH's money on 'frivolous' stuff, rather than earning my own money for that, but I guess that's not really an NYC issue, more a SAHM issue. (Hopandaskip, searching for SAHM is a good idea - I'd just been looking for mothers' groups generally.)

ElaineBenes Fri 04-May-12 03:28:25

Yuk, American chocolate is the pits. But I have eaten SO well in Queens, far far better and cheaper than Manhattan.

Any new New Yorkers who fancy a coffee and natter, PM me. I'm in Manhattan every day for work. I need cheering up because my husband and kids are still in the UK and only coming next month sad

Hopandaskip Fri 04-May-12 05:14:56

If you are so inclined you could look for an attachment parenting group too, my guess is that there are more likely to be SAHMs in that one.

Hello BabC,
You could always set up your own group on Meetup.com? I found a few groups for SAHMs and mums of babies/toddlers, but found that actually I really missed British banter so I set up a group for British mums of babies and toddlers and bingo - instant friends! It's also worth sussing out where the local 'hotspots' for mums with similarly aged little ones are and hanging out there a bit - I found I get chatting to lots of nice folk in the park, or at the local children's museum which has an excellent play area for young babies up to toddlers...

PS Don't feel guilty about spending money on activities for you - it's so important to find things to help you settle in and feel a bit more positive about your new life... And happy mummy = happy baby, right? smile

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 07-May-12 02:43:41

If it helps I'm already feeling much better now and we moved nearly 3 months ago. I have a 3 year old and now he's in preschool making his own friends, DD (5months) and I are getting out more. Our stuff has arrived, we've moved into a gorgeous house, I've developed the relationships with friends we made early on and found 3 Brit mums who I see once a week who have the same (alcoholic) sensibilities as me!

I am still looking forward to moving back in a few years but am enjoying the now a little more. Helps that the Californian weather had finally bucked its ideas up!

Elaine - I live and work in Midtown. I'm on holiday on the West Coast this week, but will be back next week if you fancy meeting up for a coffee.

MmeBucket Wed 09-May-12 04:55:20

I'm so excited because we've had 2 days in a row of nice weather. I can't remember when it happened last.

I think the letters and post cards for DS are starting to come in. The funny thing is he was sick last week, and hasn't even written his letter out yet. He's really excited because he was the first one to get mail even though he's the only one that hasn't done their actual written letter.

Hello everyone. I popped in in January saying we might be moving to DC, and now we definitely are! Exciting.

Spuddy I saw that you are moving to DC too. I can't be of any help I'm afraid, but Arlington is meant to be nice. We have a house to go to in Falls Church, should be moving first week August. What about you?

Mme - I sent a couple of cards last week. Does he need one from California?

ElaineBenes Thu 10-May-12 03:15:31

Sounds fab neither

Mme i sent a postcard last Friday. Hope it reaches him soon!

MmeBucket Thu 10-May-12 04:16:18

Thanks, but California has been covered.

Grockle Thu 10-May-12 08:56:26

I'm glad you are feeling more settled, girlwiththemousyhair (love the name!)

MmeBucket, my friend in Alaska had left just as I got your mesage so I am unable to help, I'd afraid. But if you need a postcard from the UK, I'm your girl!

kickassangel Fri 11-May-12 04:18:21

Haven't sent a card yet. Had car trouble this week sohaven't had a chance. I only have postcards with pics of the UK on, will a regular card do?

MmeBucket Fri 11-May-12 15:21:42

Thanks, Grockle, but we're only doing the U. S. She was quite adamant about that.

You don't even need a postcard, kickass, just a small note works just fine if it has a little blurb about some fact about your state. It's called the Great American Mail Race, but it runs until the end of school, so no rush. It looks like between MN and RL the tally so far is DS: 14 states. The rest of the class: 2 states, so he appears to be "winning" right now. He's excited. Thanks, ladies.

kickassangel Sun 13-May-12 03:51:31

Mailed a card today

FlipFantasia Sun 13-May-12 13:48:27

Hi everyone

I've been lurking on and off for quite a while, but thought I'd introduce myself properly now that our move is signed off.

I'm Irish and my DH is American (from South Jersey just across the Delaware from Philly). We've been in London for years and have two DC - DS 2 and DD 7 weeks today smile. We've talked about moving to the States for a long time - want to move closer to family, are sick of big city living (loved London when I was single and then when it was just DH and me but it's not where we want to raise our DC).

Late last year DH's boss broached him about relocating to the Jersey City office and he jumped at the chance (his company will pay our moving costs, help with financial advice, put us up in temporary accommodation and the like), with the proviso that we wait til after I had the baby. Then I said I wanted to wait til after the Olympics (honestly, not that much of a sports fan but have lots of family visiting during the Olympics and just wouldn't want to miss it, after looking forward to it for ages!). So it looks like we'll be moving either August or Sept this year (still waiting to find out which is more likely).

We're looking at moving to somewhere on the train in Northern Jersey - South Orange/Maplewood/Summit looking good so far but still researching. DH will be working in Exchange Place, Jersey City, and we'd like the commute to be under an hour. I'll be going freelance and looking after the kids, which I'm excited about!

If anyone has any tips on good places in North Jersey let me know! And if anyone has any tips on moving in general too let me know. It's been really interesting to read others' experiences, especially Girlwithmouseyhair. DH lived in LA for years and says that there are some lovely areas, even if you have to drive to get to them. He particularly loved Mt Wilson for hiking and of course the beaches!

OK, ramble over!

MmeBucket Sun 13-May-12 22:49:52

Happy Mother's Day, all. DS came home with something they did at school that listed things about me. For the category of thing that I did best, he put doing the dishes. hmm

kickassangel Mon 14-May-12 02:46:43

dd did a card at brownies where they had to promise to do something for their mum on mother's day.

dd has said she will babysit the cats for me, so I can go out & leave her at home with them.

hmm

MmeBucket Tue 15-May-12 21:31:42

Wow, you guys are supremely awesome. I helped in school today and I got to see all of the cards and letters, finally. (She has only put a few of DS' up because he and another girl are the only ones that have gotten mail so far, so when more come in for other kids, then she'll tell the other kids he's got more and put them up)

For the MNer that asked, he does love baseball. His baseball team is halfway through their season right now, and they're undefeated, and usually winning their games by a lot, so he's quite enthusiastic about it. We're a big baseball family, anyway.

Want2bSupermum Tue 15-May-12 21:56:48

Hi Flip - I am in South Orange and used to do the commute to Jersey City by train. It is an easy 30min train ride to Hoboken followed by a short ride on the light rail.

I LOVE South Orange but there are a couple of downsides - mainly the property taxes ($10K/yr for a small house) but for me I hate the local supermarket so seem to drive 15mins to get to shoprite! I would look at Millburn/Maplewood as they have Trader Joes and Shoprite. South Orange/Maplewood share a lot of services including the school district.

I recommend looking at Millburn because I find myself heading there for the dentist, paediatrican, shoprite (best supermarket around here), trader joes (Owned by Aldi and provider of all chocolate and proper licorice in our home) and the vet. Summit has a great downtown too and Overlook is a great hospital. For South Orange you would be closer to St Barnabas hospital which is also very good.

Depending on what you want I would also consider Hoboken. It is urban but there are a lot of families. Also, Montclair and Westfield are lovely towns. Not sure of the commute to Jersey City though.

Want2bSupermum Tue 15-May-12 21:59:03

Aghh forgot to put a link to our local website. Here is our local website which covers South Orange, Maplewood, West Orange and Millburn (Short Hills is part of Millburn). Summit is mentioned on there but I rarely see anything for that area.

sharklet Wed 16-May-12 17:43:59

Hi Folks, new to the group, not been to MN in AGES!

We live in Las Vegas. Hubby is in the US Airforce so we are here for a few years, then off to the next posting. Hopefully Italy! Been here for a year and a half so far. Am pregnant with no. 2, have 1 DD who is 8 and in second grade here.

Nice to meet you all

xxx

MmeBucket Fri 18-May-12 00:44:37

Hi sharklet. DS is 8 and in 2nd grade, too.

tadjennyp Sat 19-May-12 01:25:28

Hello flipfantasia and sharklet. I am in Oregon like MmeBucket and have a 6 yr old dd, 4 yr old ds1 and 1 yr old ds2.

Glad your ds is getting a lot of cards MmeBucket. Still coming to Sunriver over Memorial Day?

Dd made me a card for mother's day saying she liked me because I baked even when I didn't want to! hmm smile

Crashed our car this week. All my fault and thousands in damage but noone was hurt. Then the washing machine broke this morning. Please God, nothing goes wrong with dh's flight back from Sweden tonight. confused

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

MmeBucket Sat 19-May-12 04:50:54

I forgot about that, Tad. One of the other families had to back out, another one didn't really care one way or the other, and they added an extra day to spring break from the DC's school, and that meant they took away the day off on the Friday before Memorial Day, so we decided to back out, too, since it became a school day, and no longer a 4 day weekend.

Sorry to hear about your car. I'm glad that nobody was hurt.

FlipFantasia Mon 21-May-12 18:32:19

Want2be thank you for that info! V useful smile. I'm already a fan of TJ's and Shoprite (due to many visits to in-laws in South Jersey - my FIL is somewhat of a supermarket aficionado and will happily discuss the upsides and downsides of Wegmans/Shoprite/TJs/Wholefoods...). The property taxes do look utterly mental - we'll be renting initially but will have to face it when we buy. We've talked about Hoboken, as my SIL (who lives in Brooklyn) has some friends there with young kids, but we've got the urban thing in London and want something different (ie space!). But I do want to be able to walk & bike some places with the kids, as in I don't want to have to hop in the car for absolutely everything (as we do at the PILs).

Tad & MmeBucket I would love to visit Oregon someday. I have an old friend in Bend and another in Portland and hope they stay there long enough for us to visit!

Hope everyone else is well. We're just back from a weekend in Ireland visiting family - DD's first trip there! It was fun but knackering. And DD had her 8 week jabs today. Time is passing too fast!

tadjennyp Mon 21-May-12 18:37:15

Ooo, Flip, Bend is small and I know lots of expats. Might I know them? smile

FlipFantasia Mon 21-May-12 21:15:10

tad she's actually American, originally from LA (the state). She moved there a couple of years ago with her DH and 2 DC from CO. She loves it!

MmeBucket Tue 22-May-12 00:23:53

Your friends need to stay there long enough for you to come and visit. I want another MN meetup. (I've met 3 MNers and they've all been absolutely lovely and my family has had a great time meeting them)

DS got to start presenting his postcards to the class today. He was all excited to tell me when he got home.

sharklet Tue 22-May-12 19:01:35

Has everyone got themselves sorted for the holidays yet? DD finishes in a 2 weeks. I'll have the last 8 weeks of pregnancy in the super heat of vegas trying to occupy DD. sad Sigh.....

Did anyone see the eclipse on Sunday? DD and DH spent the day making hug3 pinhole camera tubes to view the sun. it was pretty cool.

CaliforniaLeaving Wed 23-May-12 00:25:44

We finish for summer on June 6th, not much longer left. That is also graduation day for my high school senior.

We were at the county fair on Sunday and did the hands together over a white tent and looked at the eclipse. It was pretty obvious it was happening as you could see it getting more and more dull even though the sun was shining, ours wasn't a full eclipse, it was 95% my friend got some good pictures of it shining though the tree onto her truck.

MmeBucket Wed 23-May-12 02:20:40

Over 3 months of having them at home. Don't remind me.

DH has a telescope with a solar filter on it, so we were quite set to watch the eclipse. It wasn't that great because it was very cloudy, but we got some breaks during the eclipse, which was more than we had all day, otherwise.

DD had a school zoo field trip today, and it was super rainy and much colder than it has been for a week or so. It wasn't my best time there.

wentshopping Wed 23-May-12 02:27:42

Ours break up next Thursday lunchtime... I always dread those 11 weeks of keeping them entertained, but there's a month in the UK to look forward to.
I didn't see the eclipse.
It was 96 this afternoon here (36 in oC). I'm not a hot weather person smile

sharklet Wed 23-May-12 02:41:33

I am so not a hot weather person either wentshopping and I live in Vegas! It was 110 today - phew - and the aircon in my car died $800 to fix it sad

I WISH I could go back to England again this yr. Last yr we were ont he plane back on the last day of term soon as school was out. Went back home and DD went back to her old School for summer term in England (her choice) it was BLISS!

This yr am stuck in Vegas waiting for baby to make an appearance - he is due on 17th July - height of the hot season sad

wentshopping Wed 23-May-12 06:15:06

Oh my sharklet that is hot! I'm in Texas and we have a very humid heat - is it dry in Vegas?
On the bright side, think of all those Birthday pool parties in the future smile

Hello everyone, if it's any consolation it's warming up in the UK too. It might actually make 25 today. Finally!

I was wondering if anyone could give me some electrical advice? We're moving from UK to DC in July, and I'm starting to wonder what to ship and what to store. Our TV and computer are crap, so we;re leaving those behind. I'd really like things like my sewing machine and magimix, but was wondering if they'd need converters or anything to work in the US? I figured it probably wasn't worth it for things like lamps as it's not hard to buy a new lamp, but is it worth it for 'higher value' items? Thanks!

CaliforniaLeaving Wed 23-May-12 16:47:04

We have a modified school year so only 6 weeks off for us. Back to school end of July in all the heat sad

Want2bSupermum Wed 23-May-12 19:35:33

Flip Property taxes are high. $20-25K a year is not uncommon and I know people who pay more than $50K a year in other towns in NJ and NY. We live in a small house so only pay taxes of $10K which is low for this area. Millburn has lower property taxes because of Short Hills Mall generating revenues for the town. There is a strong correlation in North Jersey between good school systems and high property taxes so don't let the high taxes put you off. The taxes are cheaper than school fees.

Since I wrote my initial post there have been two gun crimes in town, both of which were spill overs from Newark (no one died but it has shaken everyones confidence). Newark cut their police force last year and the crime rate increased in South Orange. People we know are starting to talk and a couple of friends said are looking to leave. If you are looking to move to SOMA PM me as there are parts of town that are not nice. Real estate agents are not able to give you this information.

sharklet Wed 23-May-12 19:54:53

whimsicalname there are converters you can get - you need right ampage for right item, but some stuff will work. I got one on amazon that will even run my airbrush compressor which I was very worried about.

Are you plannig on staying or is it short term? We are military so move every few years, we have bought dual voltage TV, DVD etc so as to make moving easier.

wentshopping yes it is a dry heat here. super dry. not fun on the nose!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 24-May-12 05:17:15

hello everyone - been lurking in the dark hours of the night feeding DD (exhausted emoticon)

settling in better now we ave our own place and the Californian weather has finally picked up!

WIll catch up properly soon

Thanks sharklet. We have a 3 year diplomatic posting, and will then probably be back in the UK (although who knows what will happen to the civil service in that time), but dual voltage is worth thinking about for things we buy in the US.

FlipFantasia Thu 24-May-12 22:46:52

Want2be interesting way of putting it about the property taxes & private school fees. DH also says that income and sales taxes are lower, so things balance out. It just still seems so shock to me and makes me wonder about social diversity etc. Your advice makes Millburn sound really good but we may still rent in South Orange/Maplewood initially. I'll PM you for more detailed info. And thanks for this - I can't tell you how useful it is to have advice from a MNetter grin[love MN emoticon]

So there's a total heatwave here at the moment. We're all basking in it after weeks of rain!

Interesting about US school holidays as well. They're more similar to Irish ones in length - I always think English school holidays seem so short! As a parent I can see how holidays are a pain but as a kid I loved having a long summer to fill!

Want2bSupermum Fri 25-May-12 00:54:26

Flip I still think SOMA is a great place to live and I would def rent here rather than Millburn. Do PM me as I would hate to see you end up in not such a great area. Don't worry so much about social diversity. While Millburn is expensive it is still diverse with a lots of Indian, Asian (Chinese I think) and European families. SOMA is more diverse in the American sense of having more of an African American population. Don't be fooled though as there is a divide which they try to address.

I forgot to say that as a new mother you should also consider joining Mothers and More. It is a great group of mothers in the area and the classified section is worth the membership fee alone. They also have an annual meeting where they go through all the daycare and preschool choices. The summary of experiences of parents using the various daycare and preschool places are available to members.

sharklet Fri 25-May-12 05:50:54

whimsicalname definately bring 220 stuff from home then, and use converters. There are some great light weight ones out there. Sony make some great dual voltage TVs and dvd players. Ours is an internet ready one so we can run netflix through it and get quite a bit more Enhglish TV content than otherwise (BBC America basically is the Jeremy Clarkson and Gordon Ramsay show 24/7) and it lets us stream our PC through the TV as well through a separate link - so I can watch channel 4 news in full as if I was at home but streaming from C4 website.

I'm guessing you will be getting the "embassy pack" of furniture etc to survive on (unless you are terribly grand) which is really not all that great. I have several friends who have come out here on Diplomoatic and Armed Forces postings have put a lot of stuff in storage then repented at thier leisure of whi did they not bring this that and the other. There are quite a few things, they simply do not have here that freinds miss. Don't do what my freinds did and just bring your clothes!!

Thanks Sharklet. We do indeed get the 'embassy pack'. I'm happy to camp out on that and hope to enjoy the experience of being able to pick up a few nicer pieces if I see anything. Most of our UK furniture is pretty crap to be honest. Except our dining room table, and we can't get that out of the house!

I didn't realise there was a BBC America. It sounds like Dave!

sharklet Fri 25-May-12 18:37:35

BBC America is a lot like DAVE!!! But there are loads of other ways of getting British Content, as well as obviously the US shows you are used to. Netflix and Hulu are both worth considering.

We are here on a 2 /3 yr posting too and are making the best of things. Hubby is with US Armed Forces though so we have all out stuff with us. I am forever lending various bit of English stuff to freinds who are here with RAF. All in all though there is tons to see and do here whilst you are posted, so make the best of it. There is a great pass called "America the Beautiful" which gives you free Entry to National Parks and other monuments and park lands. It is $80 and well worth the investment. We have had at least $250 / $300 worth of use out of it so far, bit like National Trust membership back home but without the stately homes! I know it is currently free to US Active Service military and I am pretty sure there may be some diplomatic offers too. Worth checking out.

Want2bSupermum Sat 26-May-12 03:10:28

Whimsical My father worked in NC in the 90's and it was the best place for furniture. My Dad visited NC for the first time to have custom furniture made and liked it so much he relocated his business! While it is good quality it isn't cheap. Not sure how much is made there today. Most of the furniture seen here in New York is either from China or it is custom made in some European studio.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 26-May-12 07:02:40

is anyone else on a non working visa with small children? DD is 6months so starting to feel like I need to be doing something and looking for inspiration. Thought about volunteering but the stuff I'd want to do (working with women in hostels/shelters or similar) I can't really take DD with me to - and we afford to put both DC in childcare.

Am thinking of signing up for the AIDS/LifeCycle ride SanFran-LA for next year as I have a friend riding in it this, but just wondering what else you're all up to?

Want2bSupermum Sat 26-May-12 14:32:53

Gril The cycle ride sounds great. How about helping out with the foodbank? You might be able to take DD with you.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 27-May-12 01:42:02

That's an idea....my other trouble is I still can't drive but I guess that means it'll be easier to narrow down what I can do as it'll have to be very local.

Getting quite excited about the ride though now (not least because it'll give me a few precious hours a week on my own!)

MmeBucket Sun 27-May-12 03:58:56

I'm a citizen, but I have that problem, too. DD is only in school for 2 1/2 hours, and so there really isn't a job I can do, but I can't really volunteer, either, because pretty much every volunteer opportunity won't let me take her with me, and 2 1/2 hours isn't a long time to get anything done without her. My kids' school loves me, because I pretty much live there. The principal knows me by name, and sometimes lets me have his parking spot. At least I can be of use to someone.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 27-May-12 04:14:04

Ok so I've heard this about the schools - they only do something like 8:30-11am, is that right???

tadjennyp Sun 27-May-12 17:11:27

Our school Kindergarten is 9-11.40 except on Wednesdays when it finishes as 11. I'm so looking forward to when she is in first grade and it is until 3.30. Will still have the younger two at home but nap schedules might be easier to organise!

Good luck with the ride, mousey! I tutor for a few hours each week which stops me going insane!

CaliforniaLeaving Sun 27-May-12 17:49:47

You have better school hours than us. Kindergarten is 7.30 to noon and 1-6th grade is 7.30 to 2pm. Middle and high schools are 8.15 and 8.30 to 3 and 3.25 respectively.
I too became a class volunteer when mine were in K, not much else you can do really.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 27-May-12 18:30:42

Ok so it's For kindergarten? So they do a full day once they're 6? Or in DS's case nearly 7!!!

tadjennyp Sun 27-May-12 20:42:16

Well they do in Oregon, though you can pay extra for full-day Kindergarten if you need the childcare or want them to have the extra. My ds1 also has a September birthday mousey, so I think I'll pay the extra for him when he starts. If he gets a place through the lottery, that is. smile

tadjennyp Sun 27-May-12 20:43:50

Excuse the three extras in that post! The kids in the full-day class get PE, music and art, plus more reading etc. Parents of half-day kids have to pay for other activities if they want the same kind of education. It may work out the same, depending on what you do.

FlipFantasia Wed 30-May-12 19:20:46

hi ladies

Sharklet thanks for the America the Beautiful pass tip - that's just the sort of thing I love and had never heard of (nor had my American DH!). Also great tip about the internet ready TV - I will definitely want to see as much BBC/Channel 4 content as possible.

Girl the ride sounds great! Another idea may be to start a blog - you could blog about your move, life in SoCal with a young family, training for the ride. I blog and really enjoy it (I keep my name and DC's names off it btw, as I worry about privacy). The blogger forum on here is great, v friendly.

Want2B thanks for the Mothers & More tip - I'll definitely join up when we move over.

Just back from a lovely visit to Scotland to see my best friend from uni - now that we know we're moving I'm trying to catch up with all the friends I've not seen in years! Though I was glad to get back to London this evening as I missed DS (and DH!). DD is 9 weeks now and it was lovely to get some time just with her too smile

OK, we just found out that we get to spend the relocation package money ourselves. We had assumed that DH's company paid for & arranged everything but it turns out that they actually give us the lump sum and we can either ask them to arrange everything (and pay top prices) or do it ourselves and potentially make some significant savings (eg they budgeted business class flights for us, which we totally don't need). So we're totally going to do it ourselves!

Does anyone have any packer/shipping company tips? I've been looking on the British Expats forum, but it would be great to get some personal recommendations from MNetters.

tadjennyp Wed 30-May-12 21:15:48

We used a company called Simpsons to do the container, shipping, customs and delivery the other end. However, we packed it ourselves as we shared the container with two other families who were relocating at the same time. It cost around $3000, iirc. That lump sum may well be taxable. Certain things, like the flights over, aren't, but buying things like new washers etc, may well be. Could be different in each state though. Good luck.

VintageNancy Thu 31-May-12 01:28:18

Flip we used Dorree Bonner (sp?). They packed everything, did customs etc and shipped it once they had a full container. They did lose part of a bed as they didn't label it but luckily the company in the US that did the delivery found it in their warehouse and deduced it was ours. I wasn't overly impressed with DB's handling of the issue but the company this end were fabulous.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 31-May-12 02:57:22

We were given a budget and option to DIY and claim the money back or go through DH's preferred relocators. We didn't have the cash flow so went with theirs - the British counterpart was Pickfords which I worried about having heard awful things, but couldn't fault it at all. Everything arrived in one piece. A local company was used to bring our stuff to our home and unpack and they were brilliant (though LA only so no use to you!). Everything was packed, customs sorted, unpacked, furniture put together etc.

I actually already blog!! I do use our names though - I put occasional pictures up so figured if I'm doing that I may as well use names. I joined the Mumsnet bloggers network but haven't been active, so kick up the arse appreciated!!

FlipFantasia Thu 31-May-12 10:31:57

Thanks for all the mover tips!

tad good point about the tax. AFAIK the lump sum is after tax, like his bonus would be. But one of the things we'll do is get proper advice about tax due to moving mid-year etc (DH loves all the tax stuff whereas I'm not looking forward to having to learn it at all!)

Girl there's no way we'd have the cash flow either, which is why we're shock but [happy] about the lump sum. As we don't have to provide receipts or anything (have already make DH double check this!).

OK, anther random question. Duvets: are they easy to buy? I love duvets and really hate all the faffy sheets/comforters/quilts/blankets at the various family and friends we've stayed with (makes bed making so much more of a chore!). I just wonder why they don't use duvets...am I missing something?

FlipFantasia Thu 31-May-12 10:34:20

PS Girl the bloggers' forum is super friendly, with threads for sharing new blog posts etc. I follow some blogs about expats in the UK so will keep an eye out for yours, since expat parenting in the US is my new interest smile

tadjennyp Thu 31-May-12 17:40:25

You can buy duvets, but they are quite expensive. You can get them in Bed Bath and Beyond. I paid $160 for a single one a few years ago, but dd has had a bed-wetting problem so I have ended up just using cheap comforters instead so I can wash them frequently. IKEA do them too, I believe. Sizes may also be different. European shams are I think normal pillows to us, but I could be wrong.

Hopandaskip Thu 31-May-12 20:53:10

Our kindergarten in San Diego is full day. I wanted half day for my older son because he was just exhausted with half day but they phased it out before him. Luckily his lovely kindergarten teacher let the tired children nap with a pillow on the rug after lunch and that got him through. That and a jolly good snack straight after school.

We still have our ancient down four seasons duvet from John Lewis. It must be almost twenty years old but washes up beautifully and is still warm. Our duvet covers come from IKEA. One of the kids has a cheap flannel comforter that we use as a duvet inside a cover, works just the same. I thought European shams were the square ones...??

Dont remember our movers, it was 13 years ago and all done by dh's work.

VintageNancy Thu 31-May-12 22:10:41

Our duvets are all from Ikea - as is most of our furniture!!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 31-May-12 22:38:34

We took our duvets and linen with us

tadjennyp Fri 01-Jun-12 00:40:02

They might well be, hop! You just need to look carefully when you are buying stuff, don't you!

tadjennyp Wed 06-Jun-12 23:00:43

Hello! Where is everyone?

sharklet Thu 07-Jun-12 04:15:43

It is the last week of school and we are running about like crazy here! How are you all?

VintageNancy Thu 07-Jun-12 04:30:01

Tomorrow marks 6 months since we left the UK!! Wow. Time is going so fast, Emily is 2 months old next week.
Really loving it here and making new friends. Hard to imagine being anywhere else right now. grin

Hope end of school is going well for everyone - what are your plans for summer?

MmeBucket Thu 07-Jun-12 04:42:18

Busy here. Today was DD's last day of Kindergarten, and DS is out tomorrow. Both the kids are finishing up their baseball seasons next week. So I was in charge of planning both of their class parties this week, and both of their baseball parties this weekend. And then our water heater went out today.

We don't have a whole lot of interesting things going on this summer. The kids have VBS and a sports camp, and we're going down south to my in laws to pick up our new boat over the 4th of July. Other than that, we've got a big birthday party for them, and that's it.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 07-Jun-12 06:42:31

The only thing we have planned is heading home for all of July - mixed feelings, worried about not wanting to come back...we're settling in fine but am so looking forward to seeing my friends and have been sad recently that none of them know DD at all - she was 3months when we left, just a lump of baby, and now she's eating and gurgling and sitting. Makes me a bit sad is all, when they all know DS so so well.

How is Emily getting on VN? so glad you're having a good time!

Does anyone fancy a MN get together/meet? I don't think there's anyone else in LA but maybe California?

VintageNancy Fri 08-Jun-12 14:55:53

Girl she's great, sleeping pretty well and getting pretty interactive with smiles and noises!

We're heading to UK in September - feel the same about whether we'll want to come back! Sure we will, we love it here.

sharklet Fri 08-Jun-12 18:31:03

We don't have much organised for the summer break apart from chilling here in Vegas (I should have said cooking really!) and waiting for baby to arrive mid July. I would love to do what we did last year and go back to England for 2 and a half months. DD went back to her old school for the whole of summer term (her choice) and LOVED it! It was hard coming back, but hubby came over for a 2 week visit in the middle of our break rather than come over at the end, which meant we wanted to get back to him.

I can't complain too much at least to day Vegas is n the high 80s so it is lovely - this weekend it turns back into a roasting oven!

tadjennyp Fri 08-Jun-12 19:07:59

We're forecast snow possibly this weekend sharklet!

Flying back to England at the end of June for 3 weeks. First time we've flown with all 3 but at least dh is coming with us. It's his first time back in England for 4 years now. shock Not looking forward to ds2 being on my lap all that way... It will be great when we get there.

Good luck for everyone else over the summer. smile

FSB Fri 08-Jun-12 20:15:44

Hi all,

Glad to hear you're settling in well nancy. It's just over 2 weeks until we move over and I'm getting really nervous! What seems like an exciting prospect 3 months ago is now a terrifying steam train powering 100mph towards DDay whether we like it or not!!!

DH left on Sunday so I'm solo parenting for 3 weeks sad DD is generally being v sweet but it's still a bit lonely...

So much to think about for the move, and I'm so ridiculously busy at work I can't think straight.... If I get through the next 3 weeks without having a nervous breakdown it'll be a miracle!!!

If anyone fancies a MN meet up in July/aug, count me in. I'm v good at public transport so can travel grin

VintageNancy Fri 08-Jun-12 21:49:18

Remind me where you're moving to FSB?

FSB Fri 08-Jun-12 22:55:12

San Carlos... Or rather redwood city first and then hopefully San Carlos if we can find a rental property (which seem to be few and far between - and strictly "no pets")!!!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 09-Jun-12 03:04:04

oh jealous - that close to SF?

FSB Sat 09-Jun-12 07:57:20

Yeah, hopefully. Not close enough not to learn to drive apparently, and not too close to get the strange weather!! wink

Where are u?

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 09-Jun-12 16:26:22

LA - also not driving!! Managed 3months so far but only cos we are walking distance to DH's work and DS's preschool and the bus system in Santa Monica is ok - and I like walking!!

Getting stir crazy though do theory test booked for Monday then need to organize lessons

FSB Sat 09-Jun-12 17:51:45

Eek - good luck!! grin

sharklet Sat 09-Jun-12 18:08:59

tadjennyp Snow???? wow! I'd love some snow!! It is actually quite bearable in Vegas right now, it has been in the high 80s low 90s which is great. If all summer was like this I'd be a very happy girl.

DD finished 2nd grade on Thursday with straight As and a perfect behaviour record. YAY - but honestly I think most of it is that the curriculum here is so behind what she learned back home she just sailed through, and they all think her accent is so cute, and I have nagged her (in the true British manner) to mind her Ps and Qs her whole life she can't help but be polite.... Have got her working on mathletics on the computer and reading lots at home etc to try to keep her ready and able to slot back into the Brit system when we go back.

Am pondering on a visit to Santa Monica in the Hols. Is it nice? Does anyone live round there? I have a great freind who is an actor and owns a house there we can stay in - so it might be a nice cheap mini holiday. Depends on when Baby decides to make an appearance though!!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 10-Jun-12 05:13:23

I live a block east of Santa Monica!! Yay Mumsnet meet up!

Yeah it's nice, depends where your friend's house is as the eastern end is a bit of a trek from the beach but to be honest buses get you down there easily. Lots of parks and of course beach for children - do you just have DD and the baby?

You'll love the ocean breeze after Vegas! Let me know when you're thinking of coming down

sharklet Sun 10-Jun-12 18:48:51

His house is just near Trader Joes. Yes just DD and the baby, plan would be hubby to come for weekend then go home and then the rest of us chill out for a few more days then drive back. I miss the sea breeze SO much! I grew up in Plymouth, Devon so sadly Lake Mead does not quite cut it for me. I'd even be happy if it rained!!!

Looks at the moment like we might come in August. smile let me know if you'll be around.

How is everyone else coping with the begining of summer vacation?

ivesufferedenoughfools Tue 19-Jun-12 13:13:46

Hi, I've just posted about moving to DC soon on another thread but looks like this is where I need to be. I'm a long time Mumsnet lurker but don't really post (apart for a pregnancy hormone fuelled rant about John Lewis once last year as I recall...!). We are going to be based quite centrally I think due to my husband's job (DuPont Circle) but would be great to hear any advice anyone has to offer on mums' groups/baby classes in the Georgetown/Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant areas. Thanks in advance.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 19-Jun-12 17:28:30

Good luck with the move - afraid I'm on the other coast so no specific advice

Sharklet - as far as I know there's just one Trader Joe's in SM and we're a 10min walk away, although its more West LA than SM so there may be another I don't know about.

Either way we fly back from UK 4th August, have a friend staying last weekend in August but we're around and free inbetween so def pm me!

sharklet Mon 25-Jun-12 19:15:20

WOW you can tell it is summer vacation.... everyone is busy with the DCs I guess. Hope you are all having fun. We are hot as hell here in Vegas. waiting for the arrival of DS who is due to make his entrance into the world in one month.

Enjoy summer guys smile

Want2bSupermum Tue 26-Jun-12 14:48:33

Been ages since I last posted. Saw the question on the last page about duvets. I can confirm that they are different sizes here compared to the UK. We have Danish linen and I have an American duvet which is too big for the duvet cover. Ikea has the cheapest duvets available and I got myself a duvet cover from LL Bean last month. Tis a nice one and wasn't too expensive. The other great place for bed linen if you are close to NYC or Morristown, NJ is Century 21.

sharklet I remember being very pregnant this time last year. Bless you for doing it in Vegas. I was begging for them to rip DD from my loins at this point and it was only in the high 80s. Happy to say I am 6 weeks pregnant and very pleased that DC#2 will be making their arrival in Feb/March. DH is quite the whizz with the snow blower.

MmeBucket Wed 27-Jun-12 18:29:02

We are busy here, too. I have 2 extra kids this week who aren't bad, but they are LOUD. I'm counting down the time until Friday at 5. We're on vacation next week, going to visit IL's and pick up our new (to us) boat (it's free, yay!)

The weather here has been not summer. Low 60's and rain so many times this past week. I'm not complaining, though, I don't like hot.

Sending you lots of sympathy, sharklet. I had 2 August babies when we lived in Southern Oregon and 2 out of every 3 days were above 100, and that wasn't fun, and can only imagine how much ickier it would be in Vegas. So many babies and pregnancies on this thread, congratulations and easy pregnancy thoughts to you all.

wentshopping Mon 09-Jul-12 07:06:14

It's been raining here too (Tx), just in time for our trip home to visit relations - picked up dd3 from her camp on Friday and suddenly we are about to leave for a month. All the best with this thread's babies.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 09-Jul-12 07:55:27

Congrats American babies conceived and waiting to be born!

We're flying home tomorrow, DH comes back a week later, I have to face the 10hours along with 3.9yr old DS and 8mo DD. joy. Been downloading new games on the iPad for DS - spoilt, much?!?

But so looking forward to a month at home, despite the weather. Will be nice coming back to endless summer though

sharklet Tue 10-Jul-12 04:12:22

stupidly, painfully hot here, am considering becoming a summer vampire and only coming out after dark!

waiting for baby to arrive, then we can sort out some long weekends away from the heat, an IKEA and Ocean run to cali seem likely...

Hello everyone
I wondered if anyone can help me with a car seat question. We have average size 8, 6 and 2 yo sons who here use, respectively, a booster seat, a booster with a back and a proper stage 2 car seat (forward facing) with harness. What is the requirement in the US? obviously I want my boys to be safe, but I'm not sure if safe and legally required are the same in US and UK.
Thanks.

CaliforniaLeaving Wed 11-Jul-12 19:33:44

Rules are different in UK and US and even state to state.
www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS/
I'd guess you need two high back boosters and one forward facing harnessed seat, but you never know.

Thanks. That's really helpful.

ConfusedMumDotCom Wed 11-Jul-12 22:20:55

Hello ladies.

Just popping my head round the door. DH has informed me that we may be moving to Seattle (from London) in the autumn. Whilst exciting and terrifying I've no idea where to begin with organising the move. Not sure if I even want to go - all my family are in London, we have a 2 year old DD and I am 6 weeks pg with DC2.

Please tell me how lovely Seattle is. Any tips on packing up our life and shipping it to the west coast would also be welcome.

Hi confused. I'm moving from Bristol to DC in 4 weeks (although we're out of our house in 2). We're moving with 3 kids (8,6,2) and I'm 14 weeks pg. Whilst I haven't exactly successfully managed a move yet, I do have a lot of lists! Our shipping packers are coming next week so it's all go here. Like many things, the idea of it sounds very daunting when you think about it as a whole project, but once you break it down into little tasks it's much more approachable. My main mission at the moment is throwing away my children's toys when they're at school. I have to be really careful who I give them to in case they then go round to their houses!

Would you be moving permanently or temporarily? We're going for 3 years, and have UK storage to consider too which is all getting a bit complicated.

I'm sure Seattle is amazing. I never quite grew out of grunge, so it's always appealed!

Good luck!

ConfusedMumDotCom Thu 12-Jul-12 20:06:26

Thanks whimsical. I just wish I knew what was happening so we can start making decisions.

Can ask what you are doing about healthcare for when the baby is born? I'm concerned that dp's insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions and I've heard that pregnancy is only covered after 12 months.

Oh dear, I hadn't looked into that at all confused. I've just assumed that our medical packgage will be adequate as it's all organised through his employer here. I think I might just make a phone call... no doubt it all depends on different packages.

I know what you mean about the not knowing. We've known this was a possibility since Christmas, but it was only definitely confirmed in May (for an August departure!)

ConfusedMumDotCom Fri 13-Jul-12 09:42:25

Let me know what you find out. Fingers crossed you're covered. smile

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 13-Jul-12 16:49:19

Good luck with figuring out the medical cover. Contact the HR department and have them put it in writing that it's covered, if it is. Otherwise you may not want to chance it. A few small difficulties in the pregnancy/delivery and you could be out many thousands of dollars, it's a nightmare.

MmeBucket Fri 13-Jul-12 17:10:21

Oh, I LOVE Seattle. I live in the Portland area (about 3 1/2 hours south) and Seattle is one of my favorite places, ever. I'd move there if I could, but DH lived there while going to College, and he's not one for big cities. It's beautiful, there are so many recreation options, and it is fairly (at least by Pacific Northwest standards) cosmopolitan.

Health insurance is a nightmare here. (And I'm American) there are so many different companies and policies, there isn't a hope of generalizing what might and might not be covered for you. CL gave you the best suggestion of having them put your coverage in writing.

ConfusedMumDotCom Fri 13-Jul-12 22:15:55

I live and grew up in central London, so I expect moving anywhere will be a culture shock. My biggest concern is driving. I have my licence, but have probably only driven 10 times in 15 years - no need to in London.

supergrover Fri 13-Jul-12 23:42:13

Loving it here in the US! Have 2 kids and am hoping we can find a way to stay here permanently. DD loves it here but sadly doesn't have the same right to stay as her American born baby brother so trying to get her the same rights as him.

Anyone else got children of different nationalities?!?!

CaliforniaLeaving Sat 14-Jul-12 05:02:58

Mine are all Dual nationals. So Dh and I got both too, save problems later id we end up half and half in two different countries, at the moment Dh dd and myself are in US and the Ds's are both in UK. Not liking missing my men.

sharklet Sat 14-Jul-12 05:25:28

DH is American so mine have dual too. I am not planning on getting it anytime soon though. DH can't get dual because of his job and security clearance.

ConfusedMumDotCom Sat 14-Jul-12 07:16:56

I actually have dual US/UK as I was born in the US to British parents. DD only has UK as I haven't lived in the US long enough for her to qualify, though that might change if we do move there (must check that out). DH has dual UK/Ireland, not quite the same, but still useful.

ConfusedMumDotCom Sat 14-Jul-12 07:18:52

Oh, California if I read your post correctly, did you and your husband get US citizenship by virtue of your children having both? Does than mean that my DH could potentially do so too?

CaliforniaLeaving Sat 14-Jul-12 15:45:37

Confused. No Dh and I are born Brits and got green cards first, then he got citizenship though his Mum (she wasn't US born but citizen by descent) then came the kids born in US (then tooing and froing country) finally I relented and got my citizenship too. So now we can all be wherever. But we all want to be back in UK now. But with kids you never know where they will end up.
The kids can't sponsor parents for green cards until they turn 21.

ConfusedMumDotCom Sat 14-Jul-12 17:08:08

Ah. I see. I'll need to sponsor DH and DD. I think if we do move, we'll need to get some proper legal advice.

FlipFantasia Sat 14-Jul-12 20:41:26

Evening ladies

Have been lurking for ages - RL has been getting in the way of my MN time!

Firstly, big congratulations to Want2be grin. Great news about DC2 - I had both my babies in March and it's a great time of year (admittedly in London there was no need for snow blowers at that time of year!).

Sharklet hope that your DC doesn't keep you waiting too long - must be crazy hot in Vegas at this time of year! Thank god for AC...

Mousey and anyone else back in the UK - hope you're enjoying yourselves. The summer has been officially rubbish weatherwise so you'll be longing to get back to heat/sun by the end of it!

As for us, I've got my visa interview on Monday morning. Which is way sooner than we expected - I only got the letter yesterday, giving us a whole weekend to be prepared (so much for the month's notice!). Luckily, we're all ready and the only hassle is childcare (so both DC will come with us, even though they don't need to). Suddenly everything is starting to feel more real!

But one of my closest friends is getting married in the States at the end of Aug and I'm hoping they can delay printing my visa until after I go to that (luckily one of my oldest friends works for the US state dept in the middle east so has been filling me in via Facebook about what they can and can't do - just hope the person interviewing me at the Embassy in London is sympathetic!). We're hoping to move in mid-late Sept.

And after telling DH he could get the money and do it himself, it turns out that the recruiter was wrong and we have to take the full service package. Which is generous, and, frankly, at this stage I'm looking forward to someone else sorting out movers/flights/temp accommodation!

confused I'd recommend legal advice re visas - the info on the Embassy London website is pretty comprehensive but there's a gazillion forms and it's pretty time consuming - the britishexpats forum is also a font of info and experience. I'm married to an American and both DC have dual Irish/American and it's not been hard, just time consuming and fiddly (but actually is less hassle than the Home Office was for DH before we married - immigration is a pain whatever country you want to get into!). I've only heard good things about Seattle - never been there myself but have some friends who grew up there and loved it. But then I'm from probably the rainiest part of Ireland so Seattle weather sounds right up my street grin

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 15-Jul-12 07:54:06

confused we were looking at Seattle for a while before DH was offered LA, he's spent a lot of time in the former and really loves it. I've never been but get the impression that it's quite European as a city, more walk able than most cities, lots of culture etc. Americans whine the weather is terrible but it doesn't seem much different to London!

I'm home and aside from the jetlag am so pleased to be back. I know we've only been gone four months but at the moment the only thing making me want to return is the endless Californian sunshine. and actually I'm not minding the rain yet (she says - its glorious sunshine outside right now!)

How are you doing sharklet? Hope the heat isn't getting to you too much!

ConfusedMumDotCom Tue 24-Jul-12 21:20:00

Yikes - DH has just told me he's been offered the Seattle job.

So much to think about before we make a decision, am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I'd have a very big glass of wine, but I can't as I'm pg. I suspect we'll go, but I've no idea how to factor in everything else such as child care, mat leave, my career, etc ...

lies down in a darkened room and ties to calm down

MmeBucket Wed 25-Jul-12 18:11:47

Hopefully you'll come to your decision sooner than later, with a minimum of stress involved. Like I said before, I love Seattle.

How is everyone else doing? Is anyone else still here?

Want2bSupermum Thu 26-Jul-12 14:21:19

Flip Hope your interview went well. The forms are confusing. I never hired a lawyer for my naturalization and called up the immigration people for help filling out the forms. They were more than happy to help.

Since you are moving over mid year I would also suggest you call the IRS to find out what documentation is going to be needed for your tax return that you will need to file next year. It all depends on your personal circumstances but they will be able to give you a list of what is needed. Much easier to get the paperwork done while you are still in the UK.

Confused Congrats on the pregnancy. My sister lives in Seattle and loves it. It does rain a lot out there but that is why they have green grass and clean air. Get the healthcare insurance policy from HR. It will tell you what is covered and what isn't. I have never had a preexisting condition clause in any policy but we are in NJ. Things will be different in WA.

Seattle is a great place for finding work. If you want to work then I suggest your DH has it included in his contract that they pay for a working visa for you instead of a housewife visa. My sister was very close to joining Starbucks because they have excellent work life balance. An excellent daycare is downstairs from their offices and my sisters friend who works there was encouraged by her boss (who is male) to take whatever time she needed with her DC. Starbucks also subsidises the cost of daycare which is a HUGE benefit.

Want2bSupermum Thu 26-Jul-12 14:22:13

oh and thank you everyone for the messages on pregnancy. Somehow I am 10 weeks along already.

ConfusedMumDotCom Thu 26-Jul-12 16:56:06

Thanks want2b.

I'm getting a bit excited about it now. The healthcare seems to cover everything, so it looks as that is ok. Starbucks sounds very interesting... has a look at the jobs board. I don't need a visa as I was born in the US, but moved to the uk when I was 3. I'm beginning to think we might just do this. smile although everything I know about Seattle I learnt from 90's grunge and Grey's Anatomy grin

Want2bSupermum Fri 27-Jul-12 16:40:45

So, I was wondering if anyone knows or has access to an employment lawyer. DH's friend who is an employment lawyer represents my former employer....

I was laid off at the end of April and have been job searching since. I went on Monster this week to see if there were any jobs that I had missed since I want to apply for as many jobs as possible. I was surprised to see that my job was being advertised and was first posted 30 days ago (from today so it was posted June 28th). I was laid off on April 30th so it seems to me that I was in fact fired. I am claiming unemployment but I am concerned that I shouldn't be.

FlipFantasia Sat 28-Jul-12 21:36:35

Want2be sorry, have no access to an employment lawyer. But it sounds to me like your employer would be at fault (making you redundant but not actually making the job redundant - over here there may be grounds for unfair dismissal or such like). Surely if they lay you off then you're genuinely claiming unemployment? As you'd not even worry about it if you hadn't seen your job advertised? Though I appreciate that it's a completely different employee environment in the States so am no doubt totally grasping the wrong end of the stick! I hope you find a new job soon. And wow at 10 weeks already - time is passing! I agree that a lawyer isn't really necessary for the visa process - DH insisted as he had a bad experience in the past with getting a visa for his ex-wife and just didn't trust us to do it ourselves, despite us actually doing it all ourselves with the lawyer just submitting stuff [can you tell I wish we hadn't forked out for a lawyer!]. We've got a tax advisor included as part of the relocation thing and my tax return is part of the list of questions.

Also I thought your post on the other thread about US healthcare was just excellent btw.

Confused exciting about the job! Hope you come to a decision soon. The ball will start rolling quite fast once you do I imagine.

Girlwiththemouseyhair hope you're having a great time in the UK. We've even had sunshine this week! I bet you're loving showing DD off to everyone smile

MmeBucket hope all is good with you. Are your kids in camp or anything?

I'm sitting sipping champagne watching the Olympics - love the whole thing! And feeling productive, since drinking through our booze cupboard is part of decluttering for moving wink. Can't believe the Olympics has really started, after looking forward to it for so long - we could hear the fireworks from our garden last night during the opening ceremony. We're off to see the hockey next Sun morning and have family over from Ireland for it.

Also, rather irrationally, hoping to get to France for a day trip sometime in August. DH thinks it's mental but I have a huge urge to get to France, even for a day. It's making me think about how this move to the US is forever (we can indeed move back to London but it's unlikely, since we've no family here).

OK, ramble over! Hope all are well smile

Want2bSupermum Sun 29-Jul-12 00:48:57

Thanks Flip I am more worried about getting into trouble with the state. I have a job interview on Tuesday and I am hopeful because they are previous employer. I then have a final round with the board of directors a bank on Tuesday. It is a small bank but I am still nervous as heck as the job would be amazing (basically I would be training to take over from the CFO of the bank who is 60 and plans to retire at 65).

I seem to have learnt an awful lot about American healthcare. It helps that I spent so much time auditing healthcare groups over the past three years. Great that you have a tax advisor. I would reach out to them sooner rather than later.

Do the trip to France and buy nice underwear. Here there is a huge tax on it so it is very very expensive. Victoria secret just isn't the same.

MmeBucket Sun 29-Jul-12 01:22:11

Check your state's government website for information, want2b. I can tell you what the rules used to be 15 years ago in my state (back when I used to work for a lawyer) but the rules aren't the same for every state. Pretty much if you have something that states in writing you were laid off, they shouldn't be able to touch you, though.

The kids were in (American) football camp this past week. Then DS has a cartooning camp this upcoming week. Then we've got the start of the football season, which means 5 days a week of practicing for I don't know how long. And I have the 2 kids I watched earlier this summer for a week. Then I have their birthday party in a few weekends. Then I have 2 of my friend's 4 kids round the clock for 1 1/2 weeks as they're in Europe. I think I need a nap.

Want2bSupermum Sun 29-Jul-12 04:40:52

Thanks Mme - I don't have anything in writing but in order for unemployment to be paid my former employer had to confirm that I was laid off to the state of NJ. The state website isn't clear about when a lay off becomes a firing. They say that the job no longer exists.... Well it didn't exist for 2 months and then it did again!

I am not looking forward to the 'camp' years. I am still in shock at the prices. Having kids is so expensive.

Hello folks, just lurking in here as we may (or may not) be moving to Washington in the New Year for DH's job. With 2 DS's 6 & 4 and a newborn (EDD 19th Dec in London) - eek! We would be looking at Vienna/Falls Church to live.
Am quite well practiced as this expat/moving lark (Zambia 2004-2009, Botswana 2009-now) but have never been to the US and the idea of doing anything challenging with a newborn scares the pants off me. But hey it's all an adventure smile
Hope it's ok if I hang around xx

kickassangel Mon 30-Jul-12 14:00:48

Hi, haven't been around for a while and too lazy to catch up on the whole thread.

Decided to pop in as I'm feeling a bit fed up with American bashing going on atm. Mainly around the Olympics. Yes, NBC cut out the tribute and did an interview instead, but there have been comments about how the Americans didn't know who anyone was, or what was happening etc. I haven't heard any of the same disdain aimed at the Australians, French etc. I thought the commentary was pretty goo - they obviously had loads of notes and filled in details quite well.

I think I've just lost my tolerance for sweeping generalisations about entire nations.

Flip we also had to drink the cupboards dry. It's a dirty job ...

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Jul-12 16:51:34

Kickass I agree. I lived here in the 80's and remember watching the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. You didn't see anyone apart from the Americans. That has changed and watching the swimming they did a segment on Rebecca Adlington before her race which they didn't do for the American who came in 2nd. I DVR'd the gymnastics and they showed Beth Tweddle and Rebecca Tunney from the British team as well as gymnasts from Romania, Italy, Brazil, France and Australia. The commentators were very complementary about their perfomances.

FlipFantasia Mon 30-Jul-12 21:12:18

Kickass oh I hate lazy American-bashing. I love Britain but am Irish, so can see the lazy stereotypes spouted about Ireland too (no doubt the same goes on for French, Germans etc). I tend to offer my own sweeping generalisations about Britain whenever I come across American (or any other nation) bashing!

MmeBucket wow, cartooning camp - how cool does that sound?!? And I practically needed a nap by the time I'd read how busy you're going to be for the foreseeable future grin

Want2be thank you for your wise words about France - eurotunnel ticket is booked grin, though we'll go in Sept rather than Aug as the ticket was way cheaper. Good luck with those interviews - the bank one in particular sounds amazing. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you smile

Zam welcome smile. I've not yet moved, am still in London and we're moving to NYC in Sept, with the plan to move out to northern NJ after a month. This thread is a font of info (though there's a DC thread too) and v welcoming. There are a few who moved while pregnant or with small babies who may be able to offer tips. My DC will be 2.6 and 6 months when we move.

MmeBucket Wed 01-Aug-12 01:39:20

Want2b, some camps around here really aren't that bad. We do a lot of church based ones (We're not religious, but have a really good friend with a DH that's a pastor at a non-pushy church) and they're pretty cheap. From 10-30 dollars a pop, so I have spent about $120 total for 3 weeks of camp for DD and 4 weeks for DS. (Including the cartooning one he's at this week, which obviously is tons of fun for him) Although there are certainly plenty of ones that can break the bank to be found. It is the sports that get us. It will cost us over $500 for both of them to be in football (American football, not soccer. I wish it was soccer, it would be half that) for the fees and equipment and fundraising, and that's just their sport for fall, although it is the most expensive one.

Hello and welcome, Zam!

NapaCab Wed 01-Aug-12 04:40:45

Hey, just checking in with some fellow US-dwellers to ask a question: is it just me or is the US retail banking system utterly crap??

My bank is HSBC and don't offer direct debit facilities or any form of electronic interbank transfer apart from a wire transfer which costs $30 every time I use it. It seems that Americans just use cheques all the time to pay bills but surely that's so inefficient?

Is there any bank in the US that offers normal banking facilities like we have in Europe? Do I really have to contend with cheques and fax machines and wire transfers like it's 1987?? I rang up my bank about this today and the only recurring payment facility they offered was to register a payee with a recurring date for payments and they would then POST a BANK DRAFT to the payee on that date - yes a bank DRAFT, something I learned about in school and have never had to use since they invented THE INTERNET and electronic banking... what is going on?? How can Americans be happy with such crap service? Any ideas?

(Apart from that I love living here by the way so this isn't an anti-American rant - I just don't get the banking system!)

CaliforniaLeaving Wed 01-Aug-12 04:54:09

I pay my bills online for free. I think it depends on your bank. I use a local credit union and it has free online bill pay. But I can't transfer to friends or family accounts online. I can transfer between accounts of my own that are in the credit union only. Bank transfers do cost money for each transfer.
But I have heard from many who have moved here quite recently that the US banking system is in the stone age in comparison to the UK confused

MmeBucket Wed 01-Aug-12 05:04:30

We have Wells Fargo, and we do pretty much everything online. All of our bills are paid online. Don't really recommend them for customer service (on the rare occasions we've had to use them).

NapaCab Wed 01-Aug-12 05:14:55

OK, thanks - maybe it is my bank then. It was DH's company who suggested HSBC and we were already with them in the UK so it was easy. I might look around for another bank now that we have a credit rating.

Weirdly, I can pay my utility bills online no problem or even over the phone and almost all other bills have some online payment facility. There is just no facility for making interbank transfers electronically it seems. The banking system here really does seem to be in the stone age, compared to Europe.

admylin Wed 01-Aug-12 10:54:17

Hello! Just popping in from the German thread where I'm usually at home!

My dd is looking for a pen-friend in the US and I was wondering if any of you have or know a 12 or 13 year old who would like to write to her. She' goes to school in Germany and speaks english, french and german and she'll be 13 in October.

We've been to Texas before and dd loved it and has been asking for ages if she can have a pen-pal!

Want2bSupermum Wed 01-Aug-12 13:57:36

MmeBucket OMG that is cheap - so jealous. Camps here are so expensive - about $2-3K for the summer for each child. The YMCA does offer financial assistance but the joke is that to live in this town you would never qualify yet families living in neighbouring towns with high disposable incomes get assistance.

Napa Banking wise I would avoid HSBC. They were a nightmare to deal with and things were so bad that I also closed down my UK account with them. Who are you trying to send money to?

NapaCab Wed 01-Aug-12 17:52:04

Yes, I didn't like having our UK HSBC account either, Want2Be. Their customer service is terrible. When DH's company set us up with HSBC again I groaned inwardly but actually their US customer service is better so we decided to stick with them until we had a better credit rating here at least (I think that takes 6 months-1 year).

The bill I want to pay is monthly rent and the landlord is an individual, not a company. It seems everyone here when we ask around uses rent cheques, which I find bizarre. The last time I came across the concept of a rent cheque was in a house-share as a student around 1998 when we had a really old-fashioned landlord who didn't want to use direct debit (probably dodging tax....).

Want2bSupermum Wed 01-Aug-12 18:05:25

When we rented we used bill pay. You set it up as a recurring payment and the bank sends out a cheque to the landlord. If the landlord has a lockbox then the funds are directly deposited into their bank account but most don't have that facility.

The banking laws are different here compared to the UK. With a direct deposit the person/company you are paying has the right to go into your bank account and withdraw the funds they deem are owed to them. If this is done and you don't agree to it the bank are left in a very sticky situation because there is another law that says they should not allow this. The result is that most banks will have you set up payment using bill pay. That way, you the customer is the one initiating the payment, not the person/company you are paying.

I would go with a credit union in your state. We are with Provident Bank and the fees are reasonable. We get 2.54% on the first $25K for as long as we do 10 credit card transactions with our debit card, have at least 2 direct deposits and recieve our statements electronically. Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo charged us far too much in fees.

Another thing, be very careful with your debit card. Not many people know this but debit cards to do not have the same protection legally as credit cards when it comes to theft. With a credit card the merchant loses out (but can claim against their insurance if large enough) but with a debit card you lose all funds withdrawn using fraudulent transactions until you report the card as stolen. I used to work for a bank and it was the hardest thing to have to tell people who had their cards stolen and didn't call in until the morning after because they though that reporting the card as stolen to the police was enough.

kickassangel Thu 02-Aug-12 01:23:57

I have found that a lot of organizations charge you quite a hefty fee up front to set up a direct payment so still use checks for a lot of things. I have had a SSN for almost 2 years and never missed a payment but still have a poor credit score.

For serious things like mortgage or the better credit cards you need a 4 year credit history. I have lived here for almost 4 years but the first two don't count as I was on a visa not a green card.

I've been watching this conversation with interest, as I was about to come and ask what bank people would recommend. I like the sound of local credit unions, being a co-op banker in the UK. Can anyone recommend a DC one?

The other thing I've been wondering about was where people would recommend getting household stuff from? We're moving into part furnished accomodation, but I think we'll need to do a big shop for brooms and tupperware and laundry racks and towels and all that kind of guff. John Lewis would be the obvious choice here! We'll be near a very big shopping centre (I'm working up to calling it a mall) so lots of shops to choose from. Sometimes lots of choice makes it harder!

CaliforniaLeaving Sun 05-Aug-12 17:11:25

whimsicalname Go and look in Target for household stuff, they have great sales each week. You can look athe ad online on www.target.com things like 2 pack of bed pillows for $5 this week as everyone is getting the teens ready to go off to college. they are also great for towels laundry racks kids clotes, sort of like Tesco I always thought, but not as much food. When I want something different I go to Home goods they are part of Marshalls and very much like TK Maxx which is TJ Max here.

kickassangel Sun 05-Aug-12 18:56:15

Macy's is the nearest to John Lewis

MmeBucket Sun 05-Aug-12 22:46:48

I'd definitely go to Target for the household stuff. I like something like Bed Bath and Beyond for linens. I call Macy's my Mothership, because I love it so much, but I don't really think the quality of their towels and such is worth the price they charge.

kickassangel Mon 06-Aug-12 00:58:31

Actually mme, I agree about the cost v quality at Macy's. I am starting to think it isn't much better jcp, at least as far as clothes are concerned.

I haven't bought any bed linen since moving here. I will have to face it sometime but our beds are metric sizes and duvet covers aren't as common over here.

MmeBucket Mon 06-Aug-12 04:53:25

As much as it pains me to say it, as much as I've loved Macy's in the past, the quality of their items seems to have steadily gone down the past few years, and I just realized that I haven't bought anything there since right after Christmas.

Want2bSupermum Mon 13-Aug-12 16:08:11

whimisical This is a website that lists credit unions.

It might be worth you getting a costco membership (or borrowing one!) as I have found their bed linen and towels to be very good. For kitchen stuff I got a lot on amazon and didn't have to bother schleping around the shops. The best was the pot and pan set from cuisinart that was $100. The same set was over $200 in the department stores and at bed bath and beyond.

MmeBucket I agree that Macys isn't what it used to be. Bloomingdales is expensive but their customer service and the quality of what they sell is amazing.

kickassangel Mon 20-Aug-12 01:22:26

Have just got back from 10 days in Canada. I hadn't realized it would be so expensive. Not horrifically so, but about 30% more than in MI. It was a good trip but nice to be home again

NatashaBee Mon 20-Aug-12 01:32:17

Do you have biglots in DC? I find them good for some household stuff, although for bedding I would agree JCP is best.

MmeBucket Mon 20-Aug-12 15:50:33

When we went to Canada, I told DH that we might as well go on a cruise to Alaska (the only place I ever want to take a cruise to) as with all their added taxes, our trip to Canada would cost just as much. He didn't listen, and sure enough, it actually cost slightly more to go to Victoria and Vancouver than it would have to get a mid-grade cabin on a 7 day cruise.

Crazy days here. Nightmare week of watching 2 kids that are usually quite good for me. (American) football practice started for DS, 2 1/2 hours a day, 5 days a week, it will start for DD tonight, 1 1/2 hours a day, same time as DS', but in a totally different spot. We also had their birthday party on Saturday (DS actual birthday, DD will be next Monday), and I'm 6 days out from getting 2 kids 24/7 for 7 days.

BettySuarez Thu 23-Aug-12 17:24:31

Just making a tentative introduction to say hello as we may be facing the prospect of moving to California in the near future. DH is currently interviewing with a company in Cupertino (not Orange wink)

So in a major flap at the moment!

By the looks of things i don't think we could afford to rent in Cupertino so advice on cheaper neighbourhoods with good middle and high schools would be fab grin

Deep breaths

I am finding myself walking round the house, looking at our tons of tat and mentally deciding whether to

eBay it
Bin it
Ship it

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 24-Aug-12 02:25:03

Betty how far is he willing to commute? The freeways get really chocked up with commuters at rush hour (should be rush hours!)
Theres a few Cupertino brits over on www.britisexpats.com
I had a friend who lived in Sunnyvale for a long time and her Dh would commute back there for work.

BettySuarez Sun 26-Aug-12 08:42:07

Hi California, a 30-45 min commute would be fine. We are keen to avoid the really pushy schools areas but obviously want the DC's in good schools.

Looking for a walkable friendly neighbourhood, our budget for rental will be £3500 max

Would love to hear any recommendations

CaliforniaLeaving Sun 26-Aug-12 23:46:25

www.city-data.com/ This might be somewhere to look. Good school and walkable, thats like asking for streets paved with gold. I've never lived anywhere that was walkable since we moved here. grin try british expats for first hand experience. theres a few that work in Cupertino and moved there with kids. do you mean $3500 rent? Rent is super expensive because of Silicone valley commuters. Here you could rent 2 big houses for that much money, but the commute would be about 3 hours each way

MmeBucket Sun 02-Sep-12 03:11:34

Wow, where did we all go? I finally am done with all my extra children for the summer. The last 2 were absolutely lovely, but I'm done. Still have 9 days until school starts, and I can't wait!!!!

CaliforniaLeaving Sun 02-Sep-12 04:39:56

9 days till school?
I'm waiting for our fall break, Dd gets the first two weeks in October off.
We are selling off a lot of stuff, getting ready to put in new carpets and get the house up for sale. The we can move back to UK. Sadly we have no timeline, it's all hanging on the house and boats, they have to sell first.

VintageNancy Sun 02-Sep-12 05:31:19

Hi Betty I live in Silicon Valley, not far from Cupertino. Our rental for a 3-bed house in a fairly decent school district is $2900. I can PM you if you want to know more about the area we live in.

Hello everyone. We finally made our move! We've been in our house in VA for nearly 3 weeks. Boys start school on Tuesday, which I have mixed feelings about, and all our stuff is unpacked, although not necessarily in the right place.

I know that feeling Betty - I spent days just wandering around our UK house mentalling categorising into 'ship, store, give away'. Nothing we had was worth ebaying! Good luck with your decision making.

Thanks for all your advice everyone re equipping our house and banking. My next line of enquiry concerns children's clothes. Where can I buy reasonably priced clothes for my 8, 6 and 2 yo boys. I guess in the UK I would be thinking a bit of Sainsburys, M&S, John Lewis. Not the cheapest stuff, because I;d like to be able to pass down from one to another, but not too pricey. we seem to have all the shops in the world within a couple of miles, so any suggestions welcome.

kickassangel Mon 03-Sep-12 01:26:12

Almost all the big supermarkets do clothes. There's also Marshall's and TKMaxx just like in the UK. Target is pretty good, and you could try Walmart but I've never been there.

Can't believe the summer is over. This is the first year and stated in the US and I think that I've finally got used to the heat and how long the break is. I love my job, but lying in the sun by a pool or lake is pretty good.

Round here, pretty much the day after labor day is when fall sets in. The leaves are just starting to turn, it gets cooler at night and rain is forecast. If I can't lie by the pool any longer I may as well go and teach.

NatashaBee Mon 03-Sep-12 01:56:05

Old Navy is also good for kids clothes. We drove through VA and WV today on our 700 mile trek back from visiting the in laws - some lovely houses there, not sure I'd like all those mountains in winter though!

CaliforniaLeaving Mon 03-Sep-12 02:02:59

We like Gymboree and Crazy 8 for decent clothes for Dd, they have sales often and the stuff lasts. Crazy 8 has better prices than gymboree.
We also shop the outlet mall at Osh Kosh and Gap.
Target clothes are hit and miss for us on sizes and Walmart fall apart unless I find the George clothes.
Online I shop the sales at Hanna Andersson, they have really nice underwear. I have fleeces and tees that have lasted for many years as I sized up with Dd.

kickassangel Mon 03-Sep-12 05:06:26

I love Gymboree as well and it's about the only place that does clothes skinny enough for dd. their prices are quite high but they have good sales and rewards. I often get jeans for $10 once I've applied all the discounts

CaliforniaLeaving Mon 03-Sep-12 16:53:01

Kickass if you like Gymboree, then look for crazy 8 it's the same company, and a lot cheaper, but the quality is still good, they do slims and plus sizes.
It's sort of like Old Navy being the cheap version of Gap. I prefer Gap though as ON quality is sometimes not very good.

Thanks ladies. We're just about to sign up for netflix. Does anyone have one of those voucher things where if we sign up we get a free month and you get one too?

spamm Tue 04-Sep-12 03:07:17

Before you sign up for Netflix, check out what your cable company offers you free on demand. We have so many free movies and tv programs, I never feel the need for DVDs.

Ok, end of a crazy busy summer. Ds has already been back at school for a week and has a fantastic teacher. He is doing Taekwondo and loving it, after a whole summer at Taekwondo camp and dh has just started adult Taekwondo classes. I have just started with a personal trainer at the gym - session number three on Wednesday.

We spent the Labor Day weekend on the beach at Smith Mountain Lake in southern Virginia - so much fun on the jet ski and kayak, and great stars in the evening sky with no light pollution.

Next thing on the cards is planning a vacation in November. We want to visit somewhere in the US rather than rush back to the UK as we seem to do. We are trying to decide between New Mexico, Grand Canyon and San Francisco. Dh and ds want New Mexico - they want to see the desert.

MmeBucket Tue 04-Sep-12 03:50:11

DH and I did a trip before the DC's were born that included Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon in Utah, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, and Sedona in Arizona. It was a great trip that included lots of different terrains (including desert) and I'd love to take the kids. The only bad thing about it is that it is really hard to find pie in Utah on a Sunday.

kickassangel Tue 04-Sep-12 04:16:05

We've done Zion and Bruce as well and really loved them

Hello! I fell off this thread months ago and was wondering how everyone's doing. Has anyone else had a week of mad thunderstorms? NJ has been insanely humid.

kweggie Sun 09-Sep-12 15:43:58

Hi there -or even hi y'all! anyone posting from Texas? we are considering moving and need inside info on schools and universities

MmeBucket Mon 10-Sep-12 02:56:03

No thunderstorms here. I guess that's the good thing living on the West Coast. It admittedly rains a lot in NW Oregon, but we almost never have any noteworthy bad weather, and also never get tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

(American) football is taking over our lives. I can't wait for school to start tomorrow (after a more than 3 month break) so practice will go down to 6 hours a week for DS and 2 for DD.

wentshopping Tue 11-Sep-12 04:58:58

Hi kweggie , I'm in Tx. Have children up to High school level, but don't know much about university (yet!). I only know US system, but all big places have international/British schools too. Where are you thinking of?

MmeB go down to 6 hours a week oh my! and for dd too!!! Dance has started back up for dd2 - only 7 hours a week, though.

kweggie Tue 11-Sep-12 08:55:51

Hi wentshopping,
Plano area but that all feels a bit too new for me , I like Mckinney. DD does her gcses 2013, so we want to look for Uni's I think, can't imagine we could get organised to go before that and TBH I think I prefer her to do A's here. Whereabouts are you?

BettySuarez Tue 11-Sep-12 09:20:17

Hello VintageNancy and many thanks for your post, it would be great to know more about recommended schools (we need middle and high)

Areas in and around Cupertino would be great. Feel free to pm x

Are we guaranteed a place at the school if we live in the schools allocated area? Will there only be one choice of middle and high for the street we live in, or will there be a choice?

Thanks all x

wentshopping Tue 11-Sep-12 15:27:40

kweggie we are in Houston. (hence my comment about British/International schools) - Plano probably only has state (=public) and private (fee-paying).
This is my personal opinion about education here, and there may well be people who disagree - just thought I should say that first smile
University in the US is very expensive. Think $40,000 per year, for a 4 year course for a decent one. This can be mitigated by scholarships, which is why American school children get into sports etc from a young age, so that finally they can get talent spotted while at high school and offered a scholarship. Up until last year in Texas, if you were in the top 10% of your graduating class (so your school) you would automatically get offered a place at a state university. Due to competition, this has now been lowered to 8% according to dd1's high school. Even though you get offered a place, you would still have to pay. State universities run about $25,000 per year. This is before accommodation, living expenses etc.
Texas education system - you don't have the same exams as GCSEs or As here - there is state testing which starts earlier in school, and continues up into High school, and is generally easy to pass. There is SAT and ACT and AP (Advanced Placement) which are administered by the "College Board" which seems to be an authority made up of universities. These exams give universities an idea of your standard in various subjects. Some AP exams give you exemptions for university classes, which cuts down the workload at college, and the overall cost of your college fees.
You follow a fairly standard pattern of subjects because you have to have studied so many years of each subject to graduate from High School. Your grade in each subject is averaged to give a GPA (grade point average) which is a score used by university admissions. For example you have to have so many years of science, a foreign language, maths etc. Coming from the British system there will be gaps (US History) and overlaps - A level subjects go into more depth than high school subjects here. As an example, dd1 is in 11th grade (whatever lower sixth is called now) and has done one year each of biology and chemistry, and is only now starting physics. If she likes, that is enough science to graduate so she can choose another subject next year. Obviously that is a lot less than the equivalent A level student in the UK. This is why university courses here tend to be 4 years with a foundation year.
If your child has already done A levels they may be able to start the 2nd year of a uni course, but I am not sure about that - there may be gaps to fill in terms of compulsory classes from the first year. Personally, if my children were that far ahead in the UK system, I would be inclined to keep them in the UK system, especially with bearing in mind that your child may choose a university in Chicago, New York etc, so still a plane ride away.
My children are in the US system because we came when the youngest was 6, and only thought we would be here 3 years (ha!).
Sorry for the essay.....