Sunday, 9 October 2011


We're back.  Finally...after a TWO-YEAR hiatus...I am back to blogging.  Life is no longer going to get in the way and I am going to stop insisting that my posts be perfect, funny and ultra-informative on the happenings with the Dunker Family.  Instead, I'm going to be trying out my new mantra "more doing, less thinking" because as I've been learning, it takes a long time to think about the things I should be writing, the stories I should be telling and the pictures I should be taking.  It takes very little time to just DO IT!

So, that's what I shall be doing from now on.

I believe, since it has been a full two years give you a brief update since our last Thanksgiving post.

I finally decide to get my UK driver's license
My father is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease
Spring Break in Turks & Caicos with the Peyman's, Sweets, Dunkers, Gribuski's and Bugeja's

Thanksgiving in the South of France with the Clarke's
Miami getaway...just the two of us
Matt's promoted early again
Land's End, Tintagel Castle, the Eden Project, Penzance and Cheddar...900 miles in 3 days!!
Watched the Bronco's lose to the 49ers in England
New York and Colorado summer as always
Michelle & Jeff's amazing wedding
Avery in 3rd grade, Sloane in Kindergarten!

Matt get a bit of a promotion...again!
 We finally buy a house in the country and move for the 4th time!
'Point of View' rebuild is completed
New York & Colorado for the summer
Avery flies to AZ with Harrison
Bones heads to an amazing dog ranch in Kent
Ravello Italy for a beautiful wedding 
Matt passes the CFA!!!
Our 12 year wedding anniversary
Avery in 4th grade, Sloane in 1st and Anderson started Nursery!!!
Sloane loses her first tooth
Stella & Dot is coming to the UK and I'm a Founding Independent Stylist!!
(check out my FB page and 'LIKE')
Matt and I pass the Life in the UK test...and are granted Indefinite Leave to Remain

....Olympics, Self-employment, Skiing, Remodeling...hoping the financial marketplace doesn't spontaneously combust...
The list goes on and on...
Stay tuned!!

I suppose you might want to see what the kiddo's look like since it's been 2 years.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Not in 1000 years

were we worried that our Thanksgiving break would be hindered by snow. But we would never have imagined that we might have to cancel the getaway because of rain. The Lake District is, in fact, one of the wettest areas in England. You'd think that they'd have themselves sorted when it comes those pesky little droplets falling from the sky. But it seems that Mother Nature felt it appropriate to remind us all of just how we stack up in the grand scheme of things. Minuscule.

Forecasters said the rainfall leading up to Thanksgiving was unprecedented and unexpected. The Environment Agency recorded 12.3 inches (314.4 millimeter) of rain in 24 hours in one location — one of the wettest days ever recorded in England.

Leave it to the Americans to pick this particular week to get out of London and into the countryside. After quite a few days of waffling on whether or not we should brave the flooded rivers and washed out bridges, we finally made a decision that Mother Nature could kiss our Yankee butts. We were not spoiling our As-American-As-It's-Gonna-Get-Thanksgiving on account of pissing down rain (I sounds vulgar but it's just one of those English colloquialism I've grown rather fond of).

But to be honest, by the time we got through the motorway traffic, I would have warmly welcomed a flood. A flood that would swoosh me right back to London and into my nice cozy, dry, cocoon of a house. I would rather drive 100 miles out of my way to avoid...Stop. Go. Stop. Go. 30 minutes and 50 yards later, I've done nothing but raise my blood pressure.

But it was all worth it in the end. We arrived safely in Coniston, eventually. Our good friends brought the food and we brought the booze. The house was a Georgian one that was fantastic and suited all us perfectly. Big, stone and set at the base of an English mountain (for the Coloradoians think I-70 off-ramp). There were slate flagged floors, picture sash windows with working shutters, a wicked open fire and farmhouse kitchen. Thanksgiving dinner was spectacular, in part because I was only responsible for an apple pie...but truly because Brooke is a phenomenal cook. You know the type...can cook anything without a recipe ("what's that?" I ask..."just some notes" she was just an ingredient list!) and she can do it all while never being a slave to the kitchen. She's always mingling and chatting and never, ever stresses about whether or not it's going to turn out. Because it always does!! I hate her.

We did some hiking, also known here as walking and managed to check out, Cockermouth, the local birthplace of William Wordsworth. The Brits just have a way about naming locations, don't ya think?! We planned our walk with the rain and frigid weather in mind and we got sunshine and a beautiful day. Mother Nature was clearly having fun with us this weekend.

PROOF there is SUN in the lake district??

Getting ready to hike up the mountain! Such a slacker this one...

At the top of the mountain!!

Our Georgian getaway...Brocklebank...tucked into the hill.

And for those wondering about my apple pie, it totally sucked. Eck! I am usually the Queen of a mean deep dish apple pie but...alas, this year it was not to be. I blame the AGA. They may be pretty and make your kitchen all warm and cozy but if you have a life, aren't extraordinarily organized and like apple pies, then you don't want one. Trust me.

Some more of our hiking adventure:



Sunday, 1 November 2009

Happy Halloween!

Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones with the skin all gone?
Ooooh, oooh, ooh, ooh
Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?

For any Caledonians reading this blog, you can all attest to the fact that Caledonia knew how to have a Halloween. (...and because of Mrs. Neal's music class, we all know that song above and can't go through a Halloween without singing it as a round!) Despite the eggings, destruction of huge hard earned leaf piles and whizzing paintball pellets, in town proved to be THE place to be if you wanted a fair amount of loot. Mind you, we never walked around with overly elaborate costumes or even fancy trick-or-treat bags. It was all about using a pillowcase to hold your candy and your creative way to stay warm without looking like a stay-puff marshmallow. It was all about participating and being part of the fun! For me, when I was younger, it was about Mrs. Emery and the haunted house. I'll never forget waiting in line to get in and then thinking "What the heck am I doing here???" When the haunted house was no longer, you could still count on Mrs. Emery to give out copious amounts of goodies. Her house was one of the best in Caledonia to visit and every Halloween I still think about it. I'm very fond of those days and grow more so as I get older and watch my own children find the thrill in Halloween.

I lived out in the sticks. Pretty ironic since the village of Caledonia was not what I'd call a bustling metropolis. But I couldn't walk to school let alone the local convenient store. I couldn't pop home to grab some forgotten homework or my lunch. My house was surrounded by corn fields and it took nearly an hour for my bus route to get me to school. So, in order to get lots of treats at Halloween we had to be timely. That meant...driven. Yes, in a car. Mom would schlep us up and down the road so we could hit the houses close to home. If we hadn't been driven, my street alone would have taken all night. I'm not kidding.

I've drawn one conclusion about Halloween in London since we've now had 4 of them.
It's nothing like Caledonia.

I can't really imagine what it'd be like for American expat kids living on the outskirts of London in a town similar to the size of Caledonia. I'm sure they suffer through October with nothing to look forward to. I say that simply because even in the city, it's hard to find an entire block where even half of the houses participate. It truly is hit or miss and this year it was mostly a miss. When we did venture upon a house that was decorated with slightly more than a lit pumpkin...they were American.

So last year my goal was to make the house look wicked. And it did. This year, my goal was to make the house better than last year. And again, it did. It's nothing like some of the houses in Caledonia but we're getting there. My neighbors think I'm a complete loon and perhaps they're right. But what's the fun of Halloween if you can't get a little crazy?

Next year?? Scaffolding comes to mind...and a little bit of Mrs. Emery's flair for the spooky & dramatic!

A close-up of the front during the day

The house lit up at night. We had creepy music playing and loads of sweeties. We even had to go buy more!

The thing on the roof was a "cooler" and the biggest pain to blow up. I'm just not that full of hot air.

Kerrie's pumpkin

Our funny little bush monster. Someone stole one of his eyes the next day. Boo.

Little Chunker as the ghost of John!

The Dunker ladies..Sloane insisted on Batgirl!

Our little wicked pirate chick. Talked about a stacked 7 year old. Look at those guns!!

The school year starts again

The girls are finally at the same school this year which is really exciting. They started the year off with a bang and haven't slowed down since! Avery is in 2d grade with most of the same children as last year. There are a few new kids which is always fun but her class still remains very small in comparison to what Matthew and I had growing up. Sloane has begun pre-K which is an all day program. Not one tear shed or one complaint made about going to school. I swear she's been waiting for this since she was 2! Her class is outrageously small coming it at a whopping 9 children. Despite such few numbers though, the cultural diversity is insane. 9 kids = 5 different languages! The school is an international one but follows an American curriculum which will be a good thing if we plan on sticking it out here for a few more years.

The girls are up super early and off at 7:30 in order to get on the bus (no more school run for Kerrie!! YAY!!) and they make it home at about 4pm, depending on London traffic. Needless to say it makes for a long day when at 4:05pm we need to be in the car on our way to gymnastics in order to make it there on time.

Speaking of gymnastics, Avery has stepped up her training to four days a week now and is at 16 hours a week with the Squad 1 primary girls. It's the highest squad at one of the most prestigious gyms in the country...we're pretty proud of her! She's really enjoying it and learning quite a bit! Some days are harder than others (especially big conditioning days) but she's a tough cookie and is learning some valuable lifelong lessons. Sloane is enjoying her elementary gymnastics class too but I think her heart lies with drama school. To most, that's certainly no surprise. Just this morning she was in the bathroom singing "SOS" by Jordin Sparks with her toothbrush acting as the microphone!

Looking out for the bus!

Bones is looking a little sad that his girls are leaving him for the day!

Such little rock stars...