Monday, November 14, 2011


Hi there blog fans!

You may have noticed that since returning from the UK this summer, our blog posts have been less newsy about what is happening in our lives right now and more of a recap on what we did this summer. This is partly because we wanted to fill you all in on our wonderful summer trip, but it has also been a convenient way to divert your attention... you see, we have some BIG news that we have not been able to post on the blog... until now!

Our BIG news?

You might want to sit down for this...


Yes, you read that right, we are COMING HOME - and we'll be back in about 5 weeks time!!!

While we were back in the UK this summer, we both felt very strongly that we both needed and wanted to move back to the UK. We want our son to be surrounded by his family as he grows up, and although California is wonderful and we will miss all the precious friends we have made out here, it is time for us to move home.

We prayed about it and then watched as the Lord maneuvered things within EA so that suddenly, having thought that it was unlikely that Ed would find employment within EA in the UK, they now had an attractive post for him, based in London and they need him to start as soon as possible! It really has been astounding!

We are likely to fly on about the 18th December (still to be confirmed with the relocation people)… and we will probably base ourselves in Wimbledon in corporate accommodation for a few months until we find somewhere to live permanently. Our home in Arborfield is being rented out until April and we have decided that, although in many ways it would be lovely to move back to our familiar ‘hood’ (and our much-loved church!), the commute into Kensington (where Ed’s new job is based) would be a couple of hours each way and Ed would not get to see Daniel during the week. So we have decided to move to south west London, where lots of Ed’s family are based.

We are so sorry if this is the first you're hearing of this – but it has all happened so quickly, we have not had the chance to speak to each of you personally! And we couldn't blog about this sooner because Ed had to wait until everyone within EA who would be affected by his move knew before we went public...

We are SO excited to be coming home. LA is wonderful, but we can't wait to be back amongst our family and friends. Do pray for us. We have a lot on and a lot to organise before we leave. Many thanks and SEE YOU SOON!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

UK Tour - 29th August - 8th September

Right, now back to filling you in on our UK trip...

The 29th August was our, wait for it, 13th wedding anniversary! Yes, we really are that old! Ed and I went out for dinner at the Wycombe Arms (the setting for many a happy celebratory feast in the past!) and we both concluded that the results of our annual wrinkle audit were favorable. Maybe it was the lighting?!

The rest of this portion of our trip, Ed was back at work and Daniel and I took things fairly easy. There were a few memorable highlights though... a lovely day with our good friends, the Packmans - such a treat to be able to get to know Lydia (another of our fabulous God-daughters) better and to catch up with lovely friends that we feel so at ease with.

A lovely, girly lunch with Liddie (a G at heart, although we know you now love being a C!) and a mad night out with the freeway boys... you're all loonies!

Two wonderful family-reunion days - one in Winchester with my Mum's sisters and their (ever-increasing!) families and Dad's sister & her husband...

...AND one in Wimbledon with Ed's Mum's side of the family. We are SO blessed to be part of such big, caring and Jesus-loving families! Our hearts ache to be back in the UK so that we can see MORE of you all!
We have now officially been back in the USA for over a month! Life here is going well, we have been enjoying 'scorchio' weather conditions - which has been a real treat. Generally, we have just been slotting back into the comfortable familiarity of a predictable routine, but this weekend, we DID break the mould by going WHALE watching in long beach on Friday! Oh yes! Apparently they had been seeing blue whales on a daily basis for the week or so preceding our trip, so we set sail with hopeful hearts. Sadly, although we DID have the joy of seeing plenty of dolphins up close, the whales were obviously having some kind of deep sea convention... elsewhere. They didn't show us even the tip of a tail fin to satisfy our large-sea-dwelling-mammal appetites! But it was still lovely to be out on the ocean in glorious sunshine.

From long beach, we headed further east, into the LA mountains for our church retreat. We were told we were going to be staying in a 'basic cabin' and friends of ours who had been before had warned us that it was fairly primitive... but when we arrived, we were amazed to find that our cabin was GORGEOUS - honestly, we would have paid top dollar to stay there! It was a great weekend. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, receiving challenging and uplifting teaching and getting to know our brothers and sisters out here better... a perfect way to spend a few days!

Daniel's vocabulary explosion is in full swing. Every day new words emerge that I had no idea he knew. His favorite word is 'hot'. He is very pleased with himself for learning how to say 'A,B,C' this week... and so says it ALL the time! His only other 'phrase' is 'have a giggle', which is simply adorable! He can now climb up the ladder on the climbing frame at our local park - something that other children his age are not attempting! NO sign of any developmental delay there then! Praise God! His absolute favorite thing to do? The cleaning! Yesterday I bought him a mini broom - and the delight on his face as he sweeps his way around the house is an absolute picture!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

UK Tour - 20th - 28th August

From St Margaret's Bay, we drove north, to our old neighborhood in Berkshire - did a drive-by of our home in Chamberlain Gardens and had a nostalgic moment before heading to the lovely home of our treasured friends, the Chapmans. BOTH of the gorgeous Chapman girlies are our Godchildren - what a treat!

On the Saturday, we loved catching up with the Bickersteths, for an (as ever) delicious lunch, full of fun and wonderful, soul-enriching conversation, followed by a lovely afternoon (and trip to the park!) with our precious friends, the Phillips.

Sunday was the date for our Berkshire picnic - no joke, I had invited most of the county! Thankfully, not everyone we had invited showed up, otherwise it would have been a real squeeze! What a joy to catch up with so many wonderful friends and introduce Daniel to everyone. We LOVED it.

Monday and Tuesday, I took on my alter-ego as international ROCKKKKKK sensation; Mrs 'Rock Chick' Nic Gilchrist! The Freeway boys (shout OUT!) had been hard at work during the months preceding our trip, rockording the music for our SECOND album (which is going to ROCCKKKK your World! Oh yes! THIS one is DEFINITELY better than 'Contraflow' - our first album - it might even be ready by Christmas, so start putting it on your Christmas list!), so all that remained was for me to add my voice to the mix! We skillfully combined a challenging rockording itinerary with giggles and fun, such that I absolutely LOVED these days. Hard work, but a great reminder of how fantastic (even if i do say so myself!) our music & lyrics are and how much FUN I have with these crazy ROCCKKKKKK boys!

While I was making sweet music, Ed spent Monday with his 'MUG' (Mad Uncle Guib) and Robert (his almost-as-mad son), watching England wrap up a 4 - 0 series win! What fun!

Wednesday and Thursday were precious days with the Chapmans - Ed got to play some golf and Caroline and I were released from child-care duties for a few hours to indulge in some retail therapy and morning tea + cake! WONDERFUL. Oh we are SO blessed to have friends that we can totally be ourselves with and relax and chat and just 'be' together. We love you!

It was while staying with the Chapmans that Daniel took his first steps! SO exciting! It would still be a few weeks before he would choose walking over crawling, but it was SUCH fun to know that he COULD WALK!!!

Friday we headed back to Winchester to do some washing (!) and re-packing before the drive down to the south coast to CAMP with Daniel's 3 Godparents (+ the lovely Emily & William!) in Ewelease! Although Jen and I had a sinking feeling as the boys put up tents in lashing rain, once that cloud had passed we had uninterrupted sunshine for the rest of the weekend. It was SUCH fun. Glorious views, lovely cliff walks, scrummy pub meals, warm campfires, Chinese lanterns, wine, toasted marsh-mallows, almond croissants, SOOOOO much laughter and deep, challenging and encouraging conversations. My idea of a PERFECT weekend! Amazingly, the children actually slept pretty well (although Daniel snuggled in my sleeping bag for most of both nights), which made the whole experience MUCH more enjoyable!

UK Tour - 8th-19th August

Thankfully, Daniel and I were both well by the time our original August itinerary really kicked in. Our first stop? A lovely, restful few days with our precious friends, the Millers. The gorgeous Annabel (their eldest) is one of our God-daughters. What an absolute blessing and joy it is to be able to feel completely at ease with friends you haven't seen for a couple of years - we just picked up where we'd left off and remembered anew how blessed we are with the friends we have.

From there, we headed south again to Brentwood where we spent the best part of a week with the much-loved Grandpa G and Aunty Frim! It was the first time I had been back to Mitre House since Jane died and the tangible absence of her exuberant presence was heartbreaking. She will ALWAYS be missed. Ed's Dad is retiring next September and will be moving out of the house when he leaves. It may well be that we won't get to be there again, so we spent some time labeling and sorting Ed's things ready for the move.

On Saturday 13th, we attended the wedding of Ed's old friend, Ollie Brown. The Brown family have been very close friends for over 30 years, so it was lovely we could all be there together.

On the Sunday we all drove down to St Margaret's bay on the south coast, near Dover, to Granville Hope, the home that Jane poured her love into and which is such a haven, overlooking the channel. While we were there, Ed's grandmother and great-aunt also came to stay nearby, so we got to spend some very special time altogether. I think the highlight of the week was a trip on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch mini railway- SUCH fun! Daniel was absolutely in his element - as was his grandfather!!! It was also VERY special to spend a day with Ruth & Andrew Miller (the parents of our special friends we'd seen the week before). Dear Ruth, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the whole family.

UK tour - The first few weeks

Ed's Grandfather's family funeral on the 11th July and the thanksgiving service that afternoon (attended by about 500 people) was a very emotional, but incredibly special day. All the grandchildren took part doing readings and prayers and Dunmar's 3 son's all gave tribute to different aspects of their Father's life. Ed and I couldn't help but feel incredibly proud of the family we are a part of - the wonderful legacy that Dunmar has left. I only hope we can live a life that emulates his example - full of fun, faith-filled, prioritizing family and friends! (Honestly, I didn't plan that!).

The weeks following the funeral were a great chance for Daniel to really get to know his grandparents.

We also got to know Ffion
(my brother's daughter, who we had not yet met apart from on Skype!) and we were around for granny's 94th (hey! hey!) birthday!

Sadly, Daniel also encountered his first English germs and his immune system needed to learn to fight some 'real' viruses - not these weedy Californian varieties! My blood sugar went out of control and I felt pretty rough too... So it was lovely to be based at my parents in Winchester with a fairly clear diary!

I managed to squeeze in a day with my eldest God-daughter and close friend, the Gorgeous Mrs Clay, which was a real treat. The long overdue first meeting with Daniel was a complete joy to behold!

We also had a day with our good friends, the Bonds - their oldest son, Sam, is one of our Godsons. Daniel absolutely LOVED hanging out with some older boys while we revelled in the joy of catching up with old friends.

Another real treat was the day that we decided to surprise everyone by turning up at HBC (Holiday Bible Club), the children's summer activity week run by our old church,

that Ed and I used to help at before we left. It was SO much fun to see the look of surprise on everyone's faces as we strolled in and a real joy to catch up with so many special people.

Sadly, a really nasty chest infection (which actually required a trip to A & E) meant that Daniel was not well enough to attend Ed's cousin, the stunning Katy Stileman's 21st birthday celebration on the 4th August. The same bug prevented us flying to Geneva to attend the Swiss marrage celebrations for another of Ed's cousins, the lovely MRS (how exciting!) Alex Cardwell. Ed went along solo to both of these events while I stayed home with a poorly Mr Beauto.
Apologies for the blog (and email!) silence over the past few months - we decided to prioritise real face-to-face time with friends and family in the UK over e-communication! But, we are now back in LA (I can't quite bring myself to call it 'home' - that tells you where I am emotionally!) and so it is time for us to fill you in on what we've been up to!

Firstly, THANK YOU to all those of you who prayed for our journey home - it was surprisingly easy! Our original plan was to leave Cornwall early on Thursday morning, drive up to Oxshott to return Ed's grandfather's car (which we borrowed for the duration of our stay - VERY generous! THANK YOU!!!) and then take a taxi straight to Heathrow to catch our flight... that would have been an epically AWFUL day... thankfully, we realised this ahead of time and drove up to Winchester on Wednesday night while Belter slept and then headed to Oxshott after a lovely family morning together.

Once on the flight, Daniel entertained everyone by walking laps of the plane for a few hours. When I say 'everyone', I think MOST people were entertained, but there were a few people who clearly did NOT like babies, or appreciate chubby little (perhaps not entirely clean) fingers using their legs as a balancing aid! Oh well, they just had to live with it! The funniest thing was that Daniel was very taken with tattooed arms - there were a few highly decorated limbs on display - and, even though these limbs were attached to young men who I would not want to meet in a dark alley, Daniel beamed at them and they melted as he exclaimed with delight while tracing the patterns on their skin! Hilarious!

After feeding him, our meals arrived (SERIOUSLY good food in business class!) and we strapped him into his child seat. He protested for about half an hour before falling asleep... and folks, at the risk of sounding like a gloating parent, he STAYED asleep right up until about an hour before we landed! BRILLIANT! All the passengers around us kept congratulating us on having THE most wonderful baby in the universe (which, of course, he is!)

We arrived (gulp)... home (there, i've said it) at about 8pm, fed, bathed and gave him his milk. He fell asleep. We thought, we've got away with it, he thinks it's night time! All was peaceful in the Gilchrist house until about 2am, when Daniel decided it was time to start our day. Although we tried to persuade him otherwise, it soon became clear that our son had had enough sleep. So, the day began!

We thought we'd go and do our food shop, but could NOT find a 24 hour supermarket anywhere (I admit, more than one grumbling comment about how it would be easy to find a 24 hour Tesco's in the UK passed my lips!). In the end we found milk and bananas in a 7-11 (ironically, at 3 in the morning!) before heading to IHOP for breakfast (oh yes, THEY stay open 24 hours!). This was a bad idea (although fun) and Ed and I both fought back the urge to vomit afterwards. Quality cuisine it is not. Welcome back to the USA digestive system!

Yesterday was spent in a haze of unpacking, loads of washing, sorting through post and rapidly child-proofing our apartment for a now WALKING toddler!

Daniel woke at 1.30am thismorning but his wonderful Daddy managed to persuade him back to sleep and our day began at the more reasonable hour of 5am. Hopefully it won't take our son TOO long to get over his jet-lag!