Heather Conway Photography

Heather Conway Photography
Click Image above to take you to my shop!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

I'm so proud of my little American!

We went to the parent teacher conference yesterday and I've never been so proud!
As soon as we walked in, she said "you must be Draven's parents!" having looked at Brandon haha!
She told us she took one look at Brandon and knew straight away who we are lol

She said he's a pleasure to have in her classroom, a fine addition to the classroom (I'm beaming!).  Then she said "WOW can he read!" haha!  I said "yes, he's been reading with ease since he was four years old" she told us she was shocked how he just knew everything already!

We were then given a piece of paper saying how many words per minute Draven is reading at the moment, and what they expect him to be able to read by the time he finishes first grade.  He's expected to be able to read 52 words per minute by the time he finishes first grade, however, right now at the start of first grade, he's reading 86 words per minute!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I took a photograph of this paper, I'll add it here later 

I'm so proud, so proud, so proud, so proud!!!!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Labor Day Weekend offer - FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING!

Don't forget there's FREE domestic shipping until Tuesday to celebrate Labor Day Weekend!  Just use code: LABSHIP

Also save $5 on this beautiful Humming Bird 11x14 Photo!  Signed and dated on the back by the Photographer. IN STOCK!  Just click the Photo below and it will take you straight to the listing in my shop

Both offers expire Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Heather Conway Photography LLC | Session Prices

Heather Conway Photography LLC - Session Fee’s
A $50 Reservation fee is due when securing your date. This fee is non-refundable. If the session must be cancelled for ANY reason, you will have the opportunity to reschedule another date.  You may pay via paypal to heatherconwayphotography@gmail.com (you do not need a paypal account to use paypal, you need to have a valid credit or debit card) or by cash, or by cheque

Package A – Mini Session $75
This fee includes the time of your photographer* and a low resolution disc. This package is designed for couples and individuals.  This package is 30 minutes long at a location of your choice.

Package B – Bronze Session $125
This fee includes the time of your photographer* and a low resolution disc. This package is designed for couples, children, Newborns and individuals.  This package is 1.0 hour in length at a location of your choice.

Package C – Silver Session $175
This fee includes the time of your photographer* and a low resolution disc.  This package is perfect for families [up to 7 people], couples, children, individuals and Newborns. This package is 1.5 hour in length at a location of your choice. 5x7 print included.

Package D – Gold Session $225
This fee includes the time of your photographer* and a low resolution disc. This package is perfect for families [up to 7 people], couples, children and Newborns. This package is 2.0 hours in length at the location of your choice. 8x10 print included.

Package E – Platinum Session $350
This fee includes the time of your photographer* and a low resolution disc. This package is perfect for events, families [unlimited amount of people], couples, and children. This package is up to 4.0 hours in length at a location of your choice. Three 8x10 prints included.  You have the option to $50 for each additional 30 minutes with this package.

You also have the option to purchase the High Resolution disc with a full print release which will enable you to print the photographs as often as you like at a lab convenient to you for an additional $150 to any package.

*The time of your photographer includes the time spent taking the photographs at the time of the photo shoot, and the time that it used to edit and process the photographs that are taken on the day of the photo shoot.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


To celebrate my family and I moving into our new house, I am doing a buy one get one free on all prints and pendants.
Just order the item you want, and chose another for the same value or lower and state which item it is you want when you checkout, copy the web link if possible.
Offer Expires on Monday, August 20th, 2012 at 8am Eastern time.
Please note, this is for prints and pendants only, iPhone Cases are not included in this promotion.

You can also chose photos from this page if you don't see them listed in my shop, I can create a personal listing for you, just send me a message saying which print and size you would like me to set up in the listing for you.

Please share this post onto your friends so they can also benefit from this offer, thank you :)

 Visit my Etsy shop here 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Little moan about Etsy!!!!

I just looked on Michelle’s phone to check on my shop to see if I’ve had any messages or sales (Yeah I know, supposed to be using this time to chill from my shop).  No sales, boo!  Even worse though, I had a message from Etsy saying they deposited my earnings into my account twice last Thursday by mistake, so I can expect a debit from Etsy in the next 5 days!

Well thanks a f**king lot Etsy!  I don’t have money in my account to cover that!  We’ve been spending on the house and I’m all tapped out!  I can’t even go and put cash into my account to cover that and any charges that may incur because I have no cash left either!  I’m sure Etsy admin won’t read any notifications I have in my shop, but I have stated that I won’t have internet for the next week and the date from which that will apply, so I shouldn’t have even read that message yet, and wouldn’t know anything about anything coming out of my account, so their message to me is useless at the moment.

Ugh, I don’t know, this is just a little business vent between painting the kitchen.

Well, I have a little 3 year old angel right now wanting to hug his mummy, so over & out bloggers!

Day 6 in the house

So it’s not quite been a week yet since we moved in.  We planned to move in last Sunday, August 5th, but I had a doctor’s appointment the next morning, and the house wasn’t quite ready yet for us as had no hot water yet, so we moved in on Monday.  I got up, got ready, got the kids ready, went to the doctors and came back to the new house.  Shane’s dad, John had been staying there all morning waiting for the gas man to come and put the furnace back on, but I guess “morning” out here in America to people that come out to your house for something, means the same as “morning” in England, it means the afternoon!  The gas man showed up at 4pm!

So after my doctor’s appointment, me and the kids stayed at the house and never looked back J  Shane came straight to the house after work.  I’d got our bed ready to sleep in, the kids bed ready, and all was ready to live in!

We’re not getting the internet hooked up until next Tuesday, so that means no Netflix either!  Which is fine, it gives us time to paint the kitchen etc. and I have time to write stuff like this in “Word” ready to copy onto my blog once we are connected.

It’s sort of refreshing, having no internet or TV.  I’m on Etsy all the time checking my shop and sorting it out, as well as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter in order to promote my shop as much as possible, but of course being on those sites also leads to many distractions.  I find myself browsing people’s photographs or commenting on people’s status updates or responding to comments on my own photographs and status updates.  I never quite put the work into my shop that I could be, due to my own distractions.

So anyway, when I’m on a long flight or something, put aside my fear of flying, which I think I’m over now anyway, I like being disconnected from “the world”.  I like the opportunity to sit back, ready some trashy celebrity magazines, chill to a Sudoku book and do some “break from life” activities.  Things I wouldn’t usually have time to do in my day to day life.

So by having no internet or TV right now, I have no choice but to forget about my shop, forget about promoting my shop in any way I can.  I can’t even get Photoshop to work right now on my new computer.  While I found that extremely annoying at first, I’m somewhat pleased I can’t work on any photography for now.  The photographs I’ve been taking in the meantime, such as the Humming Bird that’s been coming to greet me every day, just have to sit on the back burner for now until I can get my Photoshop working again.  So I have some work built up for me when I’m reconnected, which I’ll be ready for by then.  Therefore, housework and fixing the place up aside, I’ve been using this opportunity to feel like I’m taking a break right now, like a super long plane journey.  I’ve been playing solitaire on my new computer, the only time I ever play that is when the internet is down, but I love the game, I always have!  I’ve loved the use of my Sudoku book.  And thoroughly enjoy relaxing in bed to a celeb magazine.  In fact I even treated myself to a $12 thick mag/book of celebs when they were younger.  I love all that crap haha!  I should use this time to read some of the novels I’ve not had time to read over the past few years, but meh, I’m lazy ;)  I’ll make time for my novels in the near future at bedtime.

I’m so mad right now about my first yard sale experience!  Around the corner (American corner, Shane will understand what I mean here, sort of an inside joke between us) there are a couple of girls having a yard sale.  I went over there to have a look at some stuff; as I approached I saw they had a futon! Fantastic! We needed a couple of those for the guest room (I can’t believe we’re going to have a guest room!).

So I’m thinking it may be $100 or so, so I started looking at some other bits and bobs they had, found some cool make-up then I realized they had two boxes full of make-up, so I’m nosing in there when some guy started asking them about the futon!  I’m thinking “oh crap! I didn’t get over there quick enough, stupid make-up distracting me!” again with the distractions!  He decides to buy it! Damn!  Like an idiot, I take a look at the price… $20!!!!  Double crap!!!  It was brand new too!!  I’m kicking myself now!  So I try to console myself by thinking “well, you want two futons, ideally black metal base, this was wooden and the mattress was an ugly green! You didn’t want this anyway, really.  It was just an amazing price for a brand new futon!”  Yeah I’m still mad at myself!

Well, at least I got 3 brand new lip liners, a brand new lipstick, 2 new nail varnishes and an xbox controller (regular xbox, not for the 360 we have… d’oh!) all for just $2! Score!

So that was the first yard sale I had a wander over to by myself, I’m not put off, I love having random “car boot sales” to go to out here J  In fact I look forward to having one myself one day!!!  We’re on a fairly busy road too, so it’ll be great!

Ewe, I just applied the lipstick, beautiful dark chocolate brown color, REALLY thick and hard to apply and it STINKS!  Not the nice lipstick smell either, it smells REALLY bad!!  It must be years old or something.  Shame, the color is lovely!

I really enjoy typing on here about stuff.  I was never much of a blogger; I set up my blog initially for this reason, to keep my family up to date on our life in America.  But I created the blog long before we moved, years before.  We decided to move in 2009, we didn’t move to America until 2012!  But this is nice for me because I don’t have many friends around here yet.  So typing on here about things is a way of expressing things I may say to friends I have face to face.  I miss chatting to Ali Turner who lives opposite us in England.  We used to catch up frequently over coffee.  We both shared a mutual appreciation for coffee, photography and avoiding housework.  That’s not the case for me now though since I love doing housework here, I really do!  But I’m open to expect this could be the novelty of having a new house that I appreciate, and the novelty may wear off.  I hope not, and I genuinely doubt it would wear off.

I miss catching up with Keely and her daughter Ellie.  Keely and I go way back.  If it wasn’t for her, I may not be here today with Shane!  She played a HUGE part in Shane and I getting together.  Neither Shane nor I had the money at the time in 2004 for a flight either way to meet up.  We’d spent so much time on the phone together, that Keely said she’s tired of seeing me pine over a guy I’d never met in person before, however she knew our feelings for each other were no joke, so she gave me her credit card to book Shane a flight to England.  Shane and I paid her back as soon as we could shortly afterwards.  She even took me to Heathrow airport to meet him.  We made it such an exciting time.  We booked us a hotel room at the airport so we could have a few drinks and pamper ourselves a little before we got him the next day.  I remember her doing my hair etc. ready to meet Shane in person for the first time.  It was amazing, and one of the best nights of my life.  The anticipation of knowing I’m going to see the man I’ve already fallen in love with before even meeting him in person, in less than 24 hours!  It was wonderful.  Shane and I knew long before we met in person that we were in love.  It was love before first sight! Haha!

The next day when we went to the airport to pick up Shane, we were both looking for a guy with bright post box red hair!  Shane of course was wearing a baseball cap, so we could’ve missed him but his skateboard in his backpack gave him away!  I couldn’t believe he was here!!!!  I ran over and we hugged.  Kind of a movie moment haha!  But I remember thinking his weird mint chewing gum almost smelt garlicky!!! Haha!!!

I remember him asking where he could get a bottle of coke.  Now that would make my dad laugh!  In the years since we’ve been together, my dad has always said “Shane always has a bottle or a can of coke in his hand, coke addict!” haha!!  As we walked over to the little shop in the airport, I remember looking over at Keely and giving her a HUGE grin, like “he’s here!!!”  She gave a mutual grin back, happy to see us together at last!

On the way back in Keely’s car, Shane put his arm around me.  If felt so natural and right, like we’d been doing that for years!  And I had known him for years, sort of.  We started chatting on yahoo chat 5 years earlier in 1999.  My yahoo name was miss_bungle_uk, his was bunglevolante.  We got chatting in yahoo metal chat as we both shared an equal love for the band Mr. Bungle.  I still have a few friends from those days now, on Facebook.  There’s Dan in California, I’ve been talking to him for years, and Shane does too now.   Also there’s Matt Thompson, who I’ve known for about as long as I’ve known Shane.  Only he lived in England.  Welwyn Garden City I think, and worked in Hertford, ever so close to where I lived in England.  Strangely enough though, we never met in person until after Shane and I were married.  Then we went to one of his DJ gigs in Camden.  Since then we’ve actually bumped into him a few times at some gigs such as Mike Patton’s Peeping Tom and such.

When we got back to the house I shared with Andy Morland, my sisters showed up straight away to meet Shane!  They’re a couple of pisstakers, so I’m sure they were there just to laugh ;)  While Keely, her daughter Ellie, my two sisters and my sister Pauline’s girlfriend, Sarah, were in the garden, Shane and I shared our first kiss together in the living room.  It all felt so right, as strange as the situation was, it was just right!

Seven years of marriage, a 6 year old son and a 3 year old son later, we’re still head over heels in love with each other!  I really couldn’t be happier.

It’s not always been rosy and full of blissful happiness.  We’ve had our fair share of fights in the past.  We’ve had some outstanding arguments!  We went through a very dark patch in 2008 which very nearly broke us for good.  But thankfully we got past that and it just made our relationship even stronger.  We still had some crazy fights since then too, but we rarely seem to argue anymore, and if we do have a disagreement, give it 10 minutes and we’re both saying sorry to each other and hugging again.  I love where we are now in our marriage, we’re extremely close.  He’s stood by me through thick and thin, literally haha, he still loved me when I was weighing a huge 259lbs!  Thankfully love really is blind J

I wish my Granddad could’ve met Shane.  He would’ve got on with him very well.  My Nan’s always really liked Shane too; she told me herself that my Granddad would’ve loved Shane!  He really would have, I can just see them talking together now in my mind’s eye.

My dad and brother get on with Shane very well too.  My dad’s hard to break so it’s clear he really does like Shane.  I’ve noticed his “shut the f**k up” face though in the past when Shane’s been talking in circles about things, especially after he’s had a few beers haha!  I remember my dad picking us up from somewhere once in Hertford or something, my dad’s been pissed off about something, and Shane’s talking his drunken dribble, and I’m thinking “Shane please stop talking, can’t you see my dad’s face!” haha!  But 9 times out of 10, you can see my dad laughing along with Shane, which is lovely for me to see!
My brother’s a miserable git, but he and Shane get on really well!  Especially after my brother’s had a drink or 8!  He was drunk recently and on Facebook, I think, my brother’s telling me he misses Shane, he wants HIS brother back!!! Haha!!  He said “Scott’s cool and everything, but Shane’s cooler!!” haha!!  Sorry Scott, his words, not mine! Haha!!

Linda and Shane used to clash a LOT in earlier years.  I never knew what was up with them, but in the last few years, they seem to get on a hell of a lot better!

Pauline and Shane get on very well too, but Pauline’s very sensitive, she doesn’t forget things very easily and they did have a big falling out some time last year.  They’ve since sorted out their issues with each other, but I know Pauline doesn’t forget a thing and I know deep down she probably holds onto a little resentment there.   To be honest, I can’t even remember what the disagreement was about, and they get on alright now so I’m happy to just move on, so is Shane, and for my sake, no doubt, Pauline’s happy to move on too, thankfully J
Ally was only 9 years old when Shane first came to England, so I’m sure to her; he’s like another older brother, only with an American accent haha!  She and Shane get on very well too; they have little brother and sister banter going on a lot.  In her teenage years, after arguing with our parents, she’d nearly always come over to me and Shane for some space, or she’d go to see Pauline.  Linda’s often busy with work, otherwise I’m sure she’d run to Linda also

And well my mum and Shane, they’ve always got along very well.  In previous arguments between Shane and me, she’d always side with Shane haha!  I think she always took into account that he has no one but me out in England really.  Although very quickly my family soon became Shane’s family also.  My mum’s a tough cookie to crumble.  She almost always doesn’t like a person on first impression, and it’s hard to change her mind if she’s decided she doesn’t like you.  She was dubious about Shane at first, some strange guy from another country suddenly shacking up with her eldest daughter, but she soon realized he’s just a normal guy and we were very much in love.  She likes Shane a lot, and it’s very obvious thankfully.

We are a very close family, my family are amazing.  It’s hard to believe that any of us could ever move away so far from each other.  In the past when family members move away, they tend to lose touch a lot.  My dad moved to London from Scotland.  He would rarely talk to his family back in Scotland and would rarely visit either.  It’s not that he didn’t care to; it’s just the way things were then.  It’s so much easier now for anyone to stay in touch, with new technology and new applications etc.

When my sister Linda went travelling 10 years ago, she’d stay in touch via email and telephone calls to my mum.  Now it’s even easier, there’s Facebook which is a great way for people to stay in touch and keep up to date with daily activities in people’s lives.  Every day I know how many steps my mum has done on the Wii fit and how long it took her, all the way from America haha!  Every day she can hear little updates on my boys, little things Draven has said to me etc.  And we don’t have to wait for an email to come through either!  Emails were once considered a super-fast form of communication, but look what we have now to stay in touch!  And of course there is Skype and Facetime!  Amazing tools for a situation like ours!  Since I moved, almost every night my sister, Pauline will Facetime me and the boys!  We got to see her new kitten when she got him; she showed me the snow outside her flat back in February.  I get to talk to my Nan regularly face to face through Skype when my sisters go and visit her, from their iPhones.

It’s good to see my parent’s faces and hear their voices. 
I strongly believe that has helped me with the move.  I miss my family a lot, but I’m sure I’d miss them a hell of a lot more if I couldn’t see and speak to them as often as I do right now, and for FREE!  I can’t imagine what it would be like living here without having the luxury of talking and seeing them as often as I do.  My sisters even Skyped me into my Nan’s 80th birthday party last week.  It just made me want to be there really bad, but at the same time I was so grateful I was able to see her blow out her candles.  And catch her telling my brother “happy birthday to you too David” when he told her Happy Birthday, haha!!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Update on the house

We have 3 rooms that aren’t being used right now in the new house.  Two of those rooms won’t be used for some time until some serious work goes into them.  But there’s a small room at the back which is dirty but fully functional.

Shane surprised me today, since when he finished work yesterday, he said he’s happy and relieved because he can’t relax this weekend and not worry about fixing up the house, he can afford to take a weekend off from it since we’ve already achieved so much with the living room, the place is livable now, and that was always the main thing.  So he really surprised me when suddenly he got to work on the little room that comes off the kitchen onto the yard.

First he was emptying the room, and then vacuuming the floor, then suddenly he’d taken the carpet up and the room was empty.

It’s good to see him so passionate about the house, he’s not taken a break yet from working on it, and he seems to be really enjoying it too.  Like me, I think he has some genuine pride in this home.  This really does feel like the home we’ve been working towards our whole lives together.

Our friends Josh and Michelle showed up later to help us with the house.  Shane and Josh went to Menards to get some paint for the kitchen, some dry wall and insulation.  I love that Shane’s asking my thoughts on paint colors etc.  I chose the paint for the living room last week, I wanted something warm and homely, so I saw a lovely color called “coffee kisses” I told Shane it’s perfect as we both love coffee and kisses lol.  While looking for paints for the living room though, I saw another paint I liked; I picked it out and told Shane this is for the kitchen!  He told me to forget about the kitchen right now as we’re focusing on the living room, and then told me to hold onto the color for when we’re ready for the kitchen.

As the daughter of a painter and decorator, living in a half decorated house all the time as a kid, I didn’t expect we’d be painting the kitchen for another month or so, so I was really surprised when we got on to that today!  When I picked out the paint for the kitchen walls, I’d also picked out a nice lighter color for the ceiling too.  We’re going to be painting the ceiling tomorrow and giving the kitchen a second coat.  The color is fantastic!!  I love it!  I just realized we’ll have to paint the door in the kitchen leading to the small back room, I think we should paint that the same color as the ceiling.

It’s all coming together nicely! J

I should be getting my tumble dryer tomorrow; I’m really looking forward to that!!  And I’d love to get some drawers or something; we definitely need somewhere to put all our clothes!

So after another day working on the house, I just had a lovely shower in our own shower in our own bathroom, and now I’m listening to Aerosmith in my headphones, typing this out while Shane’s STILL painting.  I’m about to force him to quit, and enjoy what little we have left of the night to some comedy on the telly from the comfort of our bed seeing as it’s in the living room at the moment haha!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Our New House

I can’t believe after all this time living at Shane’s parents’ house; we FINALLY have our own place!  Not just any place either!  It’s a BIG HOUSE!  Living in England we’ve only ever lived in small places.

The house I grew up in wasn’t so small, although it felt like it at the time with 3 sisters and a brother!!

When I was 21 in 2001, I qualified on the council for a bedsit.  At the time I thought it was excellent, I’m 21 and now I can have my own space!  But the place was absolutely tiny!  I called it a shoebox!  I would dream almost every night that I’d found a secret room I never knew about lol.  I managed to fit a bed in there, a small computer table and a tiny sofa bed.  You couldn’t move in there lol.  It was always so messy, more like a teenager’s bedroom.  I could never be bothered to keep it nice, because I hated it, there was no pride in my “home”.

The kitchen was so small it couldn’t even fit an oven in there!  I had enough room for a small fridge, no freezer, just a little freezer box part at the top of the fridge.  I made sure I had a coffee maker in there of course!

I would wake up at 3am and drink a whole pot of coffee before work at 5:30am.  I hated my job at the time.  It was actually quite depressing for me.  I had a psycho next door neighbor who practically stalked me and my friends.  We had scaffolding outside the windows and I’d see him walk past my window, he freaked me out big time!

I used to get onto yahoo chat and talk to Shane, ironically, about how I hated my life at the time, living in a place I hated, working a job I hated to pay for the place I hated.  It really did seem pointless at the time.

Anyway, as luck would have it, I got a new job in 2002 that I loved; working at Bridge Travel, made some wonderful new friends, and it really changed my life!  I gave up the shoebox and moved into a nice house in Ware with my friend Andy Morland.  Then when Shane came over to England in July 2004 for a few months, finally after 5 years of yahoo chat, he stayed in the house with Andy and me.

Then when Andy moved out to be with his boyfriend, the landlady let Shane stay with me in the house rent-free, as I could only afford half the rent, so long as he did some yard work for her.

But when it was due for Shane to go back to America, I had to look for a roommate or move out!  I found a guy, but I didn’t like him, neither did Shane, he didn’t want to go back to America leaving me with the wanker.  So I told him he can’t move in, I told the landlady I’d have to move out.

The day after Shane went back to America in October 2004, I had to leave the house and move back in with my parents.  My friend Keely helped me pack my things up to go back to my mum’s.  I was useless; I couldn’t stop crying over Shane haha!  I remember when I got back to my mum’s, as I was walking up the stairs, still crying over missing Shane, my dad said to my 9 year old sister Ally, “be nice to your big sister, she’s not well” HAAHA!!!  I wasn’t ill, I was heartbroken!  I couldn’t live without Shane!

Shane and I went back to talking on the internet and on the phone for hours and hours.  He came back to visit me in February 2005.  There was a new hotel that’d opened up in Harlow; Keely found us rooms for just a tenner a night!  So we made the most of that deal and stayed several nights.  It was then that we got engaged.  He stayed for my 25th birthday in March, but then had to go back to America again as he only had a two week stay this time.  Having him leave again wasn’t so bad this time, as we’d decided that I will fly over to America in June and we’ll get married out there, so I knew I only had a few months to wait, and it in fact gave us something to look forward to.  When he left previously in October, we hadn’t arranged when we would see each other next, so it made it harder on us both not knowing when and having nothing to look forward to, just missing each other really bad!

So I flew out to Indiana in June 2005, and we got married a week later on July 1st.  We went to Chicago to get his spouse visa (almost like a green card), and we were able to go back to England together.

We both stayed at my parents’ house at first, but as newlyweds it didn’t feel right, we couldn’t wait for our own place together.  And so we didn’t, I went out and got a loan so we’d have the deposit for somewhere to live.  We always lived in grubby small rental apartments or flats as we call them in England.  First we lived in a one bedroomed place, but we loved it because it was OURS!  The bedroom was a nice size, and the living room wasn’t too bad either.  The bathroom was small, but I’d had smaller, and the kitchen was tiny!  We had our dryer in the living room.  I fell pregnant with Draven after 3 months of marriage in our new place!

When I was in hospital giving birth to Draven, Shane moved us into a two bedroomed place.  Unfortunately at the time my parents had lost their house (the house I grew up in) so we used the 2nd bedroom to store their stuff.  Maybe it was hormones or just plain selfishness but I remember complaining to my mum that we can’t use the 2nd bedroom.

Soon after, my parents found a house in Hoddesdon and came and got their stuff.  We used the 2nd bedroom for Draven for a little while, but after just 6 months in that place, the landlady wanted us out, she didn’t want to renew because we’d made a complaint about how unsafe it was there, and it was unsafe!!!  One night at around 2am, I was up feeding Draven.  All day we’d smelled some weird potent smell, then that night I went into the kitchen and saw the thermostat on fire!!

We went to a different letting agency after that, to look for a two bedroomed place.  We found a nice two bedroomed place down Lea Road, on the ground floor.  It was a council building, but that apartment was private as our landlord had bought it off the council, somehow.

The living room was huge!  The kitchen was a really nice size too!  I was able to put my washing machine in there and my tumble dryer!  I had a lot of counter tops too!  Just slightly too small for a dining room table though, unfortunately, but because the living room was so big we were able to have a small dining room table in there.  Our bedroom was kind of small, and Draven’s was tiny!  We had his crib in there, but there was no room for anything else.  There was a nice big storage space in the hallway too!

A month after we moved in, on April 1st, 2007 there was a fire in the next block!  I thought I was seeing things at first, it’s not every day you see a building on fire just outside your living room window!  After that I couldn’t sleep very well there, I was terrified the place would catch fire and I wouldn’t get Draven out in time.  Shane worked nights so it was really bothering me.

Soon our landlord told us that he was going to be buying a property off his son, a split house down Walton Road just opposite the nursery.

We didn’t like the place at Lea Road, for several reasons after living there a while, so we were pleased when he told us he’s selling it but we can live in the new place for the same price!  It had a nice big back yard for Draven to play in too!  We were in the top part of the house, and there was an elderly couple in the bottom of the house.

It was a lot smaller than the place at Lea Road however, except for Draven’s room, which was now much bigger!  It wasn’t long before we realized the “sweet old couple” downstairs was nasty complainers!  Also I soon came to realize that although we now have a nice big back yard, Draven can only play out there if I’m out there with him, it wasn’t like we had a back door going straight out to top the yard where he could play out there while I can get on with housework etc.  We were upstairs and the only door we had was the front door.

This time we had no room for a dining room table and chairs.  We had no choice but to eat our food in the living room on the couch.  I didn’t like the idea of this, as it Draven wasn’t eating too well, and I wanted set meal times at a table so he would know this is meal time and this is where we sit and you must eat, but we couldn’t so I just had to deal with it.  By February 2009 I had Brandon.  We lived in this small place until we moved to America in January 2012.

We’ve never been in a position to buy new things.  The only thing we ever bought new was our bed in England, and that was a disaster!  We got a new king size bed from Argos.  I was so excited, it looked so modern and smart!  I didn’t realize how low it was though, my sister and her girlfriend were fixing it up for us in our second flat, the one that almost caught fire, while I was out for a meal with my friends from Bridge Travel, and Shane was at work.  I remember being so tired and hoping they’d get it together by the time I got back.  They hadn’t!  We were missing something so we couldn’t have the metal pole on the headboard, my sister told me to call Argos and they’d replace it or something, I never did, so we just lived without that part.  Then Shane and I kept catching our lower legs on the wood going around the bed to make it look stylish, and Draven once banged his head on it and had to go to casualty as he split his head open slightly.  So we took that off too.  In the end, it looked terrible, and it turned out to be quite uncomfortable too!

When we came out to Indiana for Christmas 2009, Shane and I stayed in a new bed his parents had, that they got from Shane’s aunt.  We loved it!  It was so comfortable!!  So we were thrilled when Shane’s mum said it’s ours for when we move out to America!

When we went back to England after our visit in January 2010, we were so disappointed to go back to our broken, half made up, uncomfortable bed we’d once paid so much for!

Leading up to our move to America, we were looking forward to sleeping in that huge comfortable bed again!  But as it turned out, his parents had loaned it to Shane’s brother Michael, who lived a two hour drive away, near Bloomington, Indiana.

Instead, we slept on his dad’s bed that was over 100 years old and had to have two mattresses on it.  It was a double bed too, we’d been so spoiled in the past, sleeping in King and Queen sized beds.  Suddenly this double bed felt tiny!!!  However, it was quite comfortable, considering how old it was etc.  At least we had a bed anyway; poor Brandon had to sleep on the couch.  Draven slept in a blow up bed in Shane’s mum’s room.  Shane’s dad slept on a single bed in a room next to the kitchen, where Shane’s grandma slept on another couch.  They did the best they could, but part of me wondered why they couldn’t just sleep in the same bed again for a little while.  Connie says it’s because John snores, which he does sometimes, but not that much, I hardly ever heard him snore.  Shane however, oh he can snore with the best of them, trust me!  But I still want to sleep in the same bed with him!  Who am I to judge though?  Whatever.

We lived with Shane’s parents, Connie and John, for seven months!  Considering we were there that long, I think we all got along smoothly.  I didn’t like the way they treated Draven, it felt like they loved Brandon to bits, but didn’t like Draven at all, and as a mother, that was heartbreaking to see.  I could see the looks on their faces when they looked at Draven, I didn’t see any love there at all.  I hoped Draven didn’t pick up on that.  However, it was clear to me that he did, because he would then antagonize them and become naughtier for attention.  They didn’t see that it was them causing him to be this way.  He’s never been an angel, but he was never as naughty in England.  And now that we’re in our own place, we have our sweet boy back.

Since moving into the new place, Brandon doesn’t want to sleep in his bed; he wants to sleep on the couch! lol Which is pretty funny since it’s the same couch he slept on for the past 7 months, as Shane’s parents gave us their 3 seated sofa and chair.  I keep telling him “you have your own bed now with Spiderman covers! Sleep on it, it’s lovely and comfy, not like this rough old couch!” but no, he either wants the couch or to snuggle up between me and Shane.

So, anyway, considering the places we’ve lived in the past, I am floored by the amount of space we have right now!  Seriously!

The living room is lovely and big!  I enjoyed painting it up with Shane and his friends.  I picked the color out; I told him I wanted a coffee type of color, something warm and homely.  When I found a color called “Coffee Kisses” I told him “this is perfect! We have to get this, we love coffee and we love kissing!” haha!  Shane agreed.

It went really well with the carpet we’d picked out too.  Connie gave us some nice cream curtains and a cream rug also for the floor, they went really well with the carpet and walls also.

The kitchen is HUGE!!  By far the biggest kitchen I’ve never had in my life!  There’s plenty of room for a washer, a dryer, a nice dining room table and chairs also!  I was thinking of getting a dishwasher, but you know what, I’m not going to because for the first time ever, I enjoy doing the dishes, I enjoy being in my big kitchen, cleaning the brand new plates I treated us to J

My mum went to a lot of trouble to get us $4000.  We found a house before we found this one, for sale for $4000.  We knew it’d be a wreck and we’d have a lot of work to do on it.  But the idea of having no mortgage to worry about (after seeing my parents lose their home in 2006) was really quite appealing to us!  The house was horrible, we didn’t want to admit it to each other, we convinced ourselves we could fix the place up and live there.  So my mum took some money from an account my Nan had set up for her and my uncle Paul to use one day.  She sent it over via Western Union.  We convinced the couple to lower the price to $3200; we used $800 to pay off some of our outstanding medical bills.  Then we found out this house had liens on it and they sold it to someone else behind our backs.  I was partly relieved; partly worried about the money my mum had sent me, and partly worried we’d never find a place to live!  Then the landlord of the trailer next door to Shane’s parents said he’d sell us his trailer for $3000. He plans on getting rid of the trailer and making a double modular house for him and his wife to live there on that land next to Shane’s parents. We figured that’s perfect, all we’d have to do is rent a spot in a trailer park at a later date when he’s ready to build his house there.  But then he found out there were $16,000 liens on that trailer from who owned it previously, so he couldn’t sell it to us.

He called Shane to tell him about his dad’s house on Lafayette.  I was all set to go back to England by this point, we’d had so many knock backs, it didn’t seem like we’d ever find an affordable place of our own.  We looked into rent to own properties, and some regular rentals, but for two bedrooms, we couldn’t afford rent anywhere, we found a two bed place for almost $800 per month, there was no way we could afford that!

So Shane went to look at his house with his dad.  The house needed some work done to it to make it livable, two of the rooms were not in the least bit livable though, the floor was taken up in one room, and the roof was breaking on the other room, and filled with nasty black mold!

I went to look at it too; I went at night time so I could only see it with a flash light.  Really though, I didn’t care what it looked like, I just wanted us to find a place of our own so it could just be the four of us again.  I felt like I missed my little family even though they’re right here with me, but we couldn’t live like ourselves under someone else’s roof.

Bob told us we could buy the place on contract for $30000 at just $300 per month with a $3000 down payment.  I couldn’t believe our luck!  We jumped on it!

With so much to look forward to now, we went and spent the weekend with Shane’s brother Mike, and his wife Nicole, and her two kids Andie and Bryson.  We had a lovely weekend there, we were all so happy, we enjoyed a drive in movie together, we loved the place they had, everything was fantastic!

Then the day we came home, we hadn’t been home 5 minutes, when Bob showed up and told us he had bad news.  He couldn’t sell the house to us on contract, we’d have to get a mortgage and buy it like that.  Shane has no credit score since living in England for the last 7 years, and I have no credit either as this is the first time I’ve ever lived in America.  Neither of us have any valid credit history.  I couldn’t listen to his explanation; I went off to the bathroom and cried.  Shane’s mum came in and gave me a hug.  I told her I couldn’t believe it, we thought nothing could go wrong this time!  Bob asked us if we had someone willing to cosign for the mortgage for us, but we didn’t as Shane’s parents wouldn’t cosign for us as they’d had bad experiences in the past with both Shane and his brother Mike, leaving their parents paying for things they never wanted.

I could understand their fear of having this house to pay for, yet at the same time I couldn’t understand how they couldn’t see that Shane is a different person now, he’s a married father of two holding down a responsible job, he has no intention of screwing his parents over, and has every intention of paying his own way with this house.  Their lack of faith and trust in their own son astonished me and my mum when I told her.  My mum said she would’ve cosigned for us if she could, but obviously she’s in England and has no credit history in America, so she couldn’t.

I spent the next few days crying constantly.  I’d not cried like this since I had to say goodbye to Shane all those years ago in England, when he flew back to America after his first visit, in 2004.

We’d decided we’re done trying out here, we felt defeated.  We decided it’s time to cut our losses and truly this time, go back to England, at least we know we tried.

We looked into flights, I told my family we are most likely coming back to England, and we told Shane’s parents we’re going back to England.  They hated the idea of us going back to England; they were so worried they’d never see us again.  I don’t know why they thought that, we’ve always made a point to visit them and have them over to England to see us.  Maybe it’s because of the way they treated Draven that they worried we’d never want to see them again or something, I don’t know?

Shane asked them about cosigning for us.  They said no.  I continued to cry every day haha.  Eventually we all sat around the table and they expressed their fears about cosigning, while Shane and I did our best to reassure them that they won’t have to pay anything.  Eventually, they said yes!

I finally stopped crying!

We had something to look forward to again.  Although I’d stopped crying, I didn’t allow myself to look forward to living in the house.  Every time we drove past it, they’d say “there’s your house!” I wouldn’t look anymore.  Deep down I expected another disappointment, I didn’t think we’d ever get to live in the house, and I loved the house, I wasn’t interested in any other house!

Bob had told us we can’t buy the house yet because when his dad died, his sister never had the will taken care of, which states that the house now belongs to Bob and his siblings.  Seven years later and the house is still owned by Bob’s diseased father!  So Bob has no legal right to sell it to us.  So now we have to wait for the lawyers to set up the estate in Bob and his siblings’ names so they can sell it to us.  They told us that could take up to 9 or so weeks.  Having so long to wait before we can buy the house just put another damper on it for us.  We sucked it up and continued to live at Shane’s parents’ house with no plans to move back to England, just yet.  We didn’t look at other houses either as we really wanted this house.

Tension grew at Shane’s parents’ house, it was time we started looking at other houses or cutting our losses and going back to England.

I can’t remember what happened, I think it was just a look that Shane’s dad had given Draven, I went outside where Shane was smoking and I told him, “call Bob or Larry (Bob’s brother) now and see if we can rent the house until we are able to buy it, if we can’t, then I want to book us a flight back to England within the week, I’m not having our kids live here any longer!”

Shane called Larry, and our luck had turned, before Shane had a chance to ask Larry if we might be able to rent the place, Larry asked Shane if we’re willing to rent until we can buy!!!!!


Now, for the first time since we got back from Mike and Nicole’s house, I was able to smile and feel genuinely excited and happy!!  We were over the moon!!!  I sent my mum a message on Facebook explaining to her what the plan is, and that we won’t need the money she had given us since we’re going to be getting a mortgage, we won’t need a down payment.  Thankfully she said we can use the money to pay for the first month’s rent and deposit, and then buy some things we’d need for the house.

We left everything, pretty much, in England!  Shane’s brother Mike had given us a huge flat screen TV and an x-box for Christmas, so we were good there.  We got our bed back from Mike and Nicole; I couldn’t wait to get in our big bed again!!  Mike and Nicole gave us Bryson’s bunk bed for the boys to use.  That was such a huge help to us!  I was looking to sell my camera for $300; Nicole was interested in buying it.  I felt I couldn’t take any money from them after all they’d given us, a bunk bed, an exercise bike, a TV, an x-box… no way, I couldn’t take $300 for my camera!  So I told Nicole I’d trade my camera for the bunk beds instead J

There were other things we still needed, we definitely needed a washer.  Nicole sent me a message saying she is selling her washer for $300.  I must admit part of me thought “ugh I should’ve waited before trading the camera, I could’ve traded the camera for the washer as they were giving us the bunk beds etc. anyway” haha!  I wanted $300 for my camera, she wants $300 for her washer… argh but anyway, that’s now how it happened, so I told her I just can’t afford the washer right now.  This was before my mum had given me permission to use the 3k to spend on our house.

So anyway, my mum encouraged me to treat ourselves to some new things.  I felt guilty using her money for things, yet at the same time I was so excited about being able to buy stuff for the new house!

I kept updating my mum with what I’m buying and asking “is that ok” haha.  She told me to stop asking that and just enjoy having a bit of a spend up!

I got a new computer (which I’m on right now!) with 6G RAM, 1TB storage, PERFECT for photography, PERFECT for running Photoshop!  I was hesitant as we need some essentials, but at the same time, if I’m going to continue selling my photography, I need a computer to work on, so in a way, it is essential to us.

I ordered a cheap computer desk for the new computer, a nice but cheap computer chair.  My computer chair in England was soooooooo comfy!  I had it for over 10 years, it was starting to ware at the bottom, but it still served its purpose and was still super comfy!  I was shocked when my mum told me she threw it out!  It was far more comfy than the computer chair she had! Haha!

We went to Menards and got some paint, some rollers, some curtain rails etc.  I’d also ordered a Microwave, a huge plate set which is lovely!  White and square, it even has matching salt and pepper shakers too!  And matching sugar pot and creamer jar!  I love it!  Shane’s mum had offered us some plates etc., but I really wanted matching new ones, I don’t know why, but it meant a lot to me, maybe because we’d always been handed stuff before and just used what we were given, and this time I had some cash to spend on some new things! J  I got some spatulas, some measuring cups, a pizza slicer, some new pots and pans, new cutlery, a new vacuum, a printer for my photography receipts, some new bedding for our beds.  The Fed Ex guy asked if I’d won the lotto lol.

 We got a refurbished washing machine from a place just down the road from us for $120.  By this time we’d completely run out of money so we couldn’t afford a dryer yet until Shane gets paid.

So the house is starting to look lovely now.  We’ve had to put our bed in the living room as our bedroom is the room where the roof is leaking and has a big hole in it and black mold, but that’s ok, the living room is big enough to take the bed and the couch and chair.  Also it’ll look so big, new and lovely once we are able to move the bed into our bedroom.  It’s so cool that the house is so big and spacious already and there are two more rooms we’re not even using yet!  It’s almost like my dream of years ago where I found secret rooms.  I can’t imagine how big this house will seem once we’re able to use these rooms.  There’s 3 more rooms actually, because the back room by the kitchen which we are able to use right now if we want, has a cricket in there so I’ve been keeping the door closed and just storing our stuff in there until Shane can get rid of the cricket, then I’ll be able to go in there and clean it up!  We could even use that as our bedroom for right now if we wanted to.  It’s quite small though so we couldn’t have much more in there than our bed.

I’m thinking once the front bedroom is in use, we could use that small back room as an office or something, although I think Shane has plans to make it an art room for himself, which is fine with me, it’s about time he started doing something with his talent!

The big back room which has no floor right now is HUGE!  I’m thinking of having that as like a second living room, like a den or something, but the sofa in there is going to be a sofa bed.  What I’d really like in there is two double futons so it can be like a guest room, because with a big family living in England eager to see our new house, we’ll be having some future guests!  A inexpensive TV, maybe hook the British Nintendo Wii we brought with us haha, so we have another room to chill out if needed, another room for some space if needed.  There were so many times in England where Shane would say “I wish we had another room, so I can go in there and ‘do my thing’” and now we do, we have two extra rooms J

If the kids argue about what to watch on TV or something, one can be in the main living room; one can be in the ‘den’.

As you can see, I’m now eagerly looking to the future and how we can improve our new home.  I’m so extremely happy now.  The only unfortunate thing, which will never change and I always knew, is that my family are in England and I’d love them to be here to see where we live, I’d love my Nan to come out here and see, but she can’t get on a plane because of her bad legs, and she’s not the same as she used to be now anyway.  She used to be so level headed and I used to love talking to her about various things.  Now that she has dementia, she’s very different to talk to.  I love her dearly, but I miss who she used to be.

I’d love for my Granddad to see all of this.  Part of me feels like he can.  When I was younger I used to always want to live in New York.  I was obsessed with New York City and America in general as a result.  Of course I had no idea what it was really like in America, I just had the TV to go by, which always made it seem wonderful.  Everyone always knew the one place I ever wanted to go, was New York City!  I remember thinking my life was now complete, when I went to New York in October 2002 with my sister Linda, and her friend Vicky and our friend Hayley King.

It was the Statue of Liberty that always had me obsessed.  I had a dream when I was 8 years old, that I was at my Nan and Granddad’s house in London, and as I look out of the window by the balcony, I could see the Statue of Liberty in the distance, I didn’t even know what it was at the time.  I remember waking up the next morning and asking my mum “what’s the big lady statue thing with spikes coming out of her head? She’s green and holds a book and a torch” after my mum told me, for some strange reason, I was obsessed with that statue lol, really freaky now that I think about it!  I was desperate from that moment on, at 8 years old, to go and see this statue!

I remember in Forres Primary school, we were painting and some newspaper down on the table, and there was a little 1” picture of the Statue of Liberty.  I remember tearing it out of the newspaper and keeping it in my pocket.  I told people “I’m going to go there one day and see it!”

When I was 10, I remember my teacher at the time had gone to Paris and she showed us some photographs, it was then that I discovered there’s another Statue of Liberty in Paris!  So I figured since England is closer to Paris, I might have more chance of seeing that one!  But really it was the one in New York, a gift from France that I really wanted to see the most!  I’d watch cartoons like An American Tail and say “there’s my statue!” Even my kids now, when they see the Statue of Liberty on TV, say “there’s mummy’s statue!” haha!!

So when I finally got to go in 2002, one of the first things we did was go down to Battery Park and see the Statue of Liberty.  At 22, I finally saw her J  and I loved being there, it was everything I expected and more!  I wanted to spend all day on Liberty Island and I wanted to go more than once, but naturally the others wanted to see the rest of New York, so we didn’t.  As we lined up to go onto the Ferry, I had a genuine strange feeling that our Granddad was standing with me and Linda.  I saw a white feather fall down to the ground, which made me think we have an angel nearby us.  I had no doubt that it was our Granddad, come to see me finally go and see my statue J  Of course there were a lot of seagulls there though which probably explains the white feather, but even so, I’m sure he was with us, I’m sure he saw us there, and I’m sure he was smiling from ear to ear.

He always said I’m going to marry a ‘yank’ one day, and live in ‘Yankee land’, and he was right, haha, I did and I am!  I didn’t plan to fall in love specifically to an American.  In fact for several years I thought I was in love with an English guy and at the time, I would’ve been quite happy to settle down with him.  Thank God that didn’t work out though!  I realized after many years of being stupid for him, that he was a dick!

I fell head over heels for Shane.  His accent was a huge turn on at first, but very quickly, I didn’t even notice it anymore.  The fact he is American, was nothing but a nuisance to us.  It meant we had to spend lots of money on visas etc., and the only way we could be together was to get married.  So that’s what we did.  At first it wasn’t even meant to be like a real marriage, we just wanted to be together and getting married made it easier for us to do that.  We knew we’d one day want to get married anyway so we figured let’s just get married now and make it easier on ourselves.

After many ups and downs, lots of heated arguments etc., we are now closer than we’ve ever been, happier than we’ve ever been.

During our harder moments in the past, I went to see a psychic and she told me “if you want your marriage to work, you have to move to America, it’s the only way things will work”.  Maybe she was right, we’ve really never been happier J  the kids seem to love it here, although they do miss my family.  Just today Brandon said “I want call Nanny” as he handed me my iPod.

I feel terrible that my parents can’t see the kids anymore other than on Skype.  They are wonderful grandparents, it kills me that the boys can’t see them and they can’t see the boys.  That was the biggest sacrifice to us.  This hurt even more when Shane’s parents couldn’t get on with Draven.  I’m sure that really annoyed my mum too, knowing that she loves both Draven and Brandon to bits and here they have grandparents that only seem to like one of our kids.

My parents don’t deserve to have their grandkids live so far away.  They are both fantastic parents and fantastic grandparents.  Even Shane misses them!  He loves my parents as much as I do.  You know you have good parents when you enjoy going out with them for a drink in a bar, and not just me, my sisters Pauline, Linda and Ally do too, and my brother David, we all enjoy spending time with our parents, and I miss them loads.

However, being a mum now myself, I know that my mum is just happy knowing that we’re happy here. And for the first time since we moved here, we are happy.  We love this house, we love having our own space to call home.  For the first time ever, I take pride in where I live.  All our previous places were so small and crappy; they didn’t feel like home, they felt like somewhere to sleep until we have our own home.  I never took pride in them, I never made them feel “homely” they were awful and I was very ashamed to invite people in.  This house though, this is the home we’ve been waiting for since before we got married.  This IS our home.  We’re decorating it how we want to, we’ve never done that in the past, and we always felt like we were bettering someone else’s property, which it was, in the past.

I’m keen to keep the place clean and tidy.  I’ve never felt that before, I really haven’t.  Even when our previous places were tidy, they were still messy.  But this house, I have enough room to put things in place.  I enjoy picking up from the floor and vacuuming, I enjoy cleaning our new dishes in our new kitchen.  It’s weird, I’ve never felt this way before, but I love it, and so does Shane!

The boys love the new house, they love having bunk beds, their own little space to play in with their toys.  They LOVE the fact they can run around in circles through the kitchen, the living room, the hallway past the bathroom and their bedroom and back into the kitchen again… yes they love running and screaming through there! Haha!

Draven should be able to stay at his previous school, Terre Town.  I spoke with the principle yesterday and explained that I really didn’t want to disrupt him anymore than he has been already, leaving Forres School in England, to go to Terre Town for the last 7 months while we stayed with my in laws, then moving house and having to go to a new school again, I just wanted some stability in his life, especially now we have our own place to live now.  So she agreed with me and said she was happy for him to stay at Terre Town, but I’d have to get in touch with the transport team to see if they’ll pick him up from the bus stop nearest to us, as we are out of the Terre Town School district but are able to walk a short distance to the bus stop in the Terre Town district which is just across the street from us.  I’m yet to get in touch with them though so I’ve asked my mother in law if she’d mind picking him up because she works at the school, just until we have the bus arranged.  She was ok with that, thankfully.

There’s a pre-school just across the street too which I checked out for Brandon, but it’s $90 per week, so I need to see if we’d qualify for any help for that, we certainly don’t have $90 per week spare right now, unfortunately.  In fact, who does?

I think we’re going to really enjoy living here.  I can’t wait to have some British house guests soon too, that will be lots of fun J