May 14, 2017

Mother's Day {2017}

Several months ago Finn had a scary dream and came into our room frightened and snuggled up next to me for the rest of the night. Now, he will wake up claiming to have a bad dream so he can scoot into our bed. He's totally making up his bad dreams because he knows I am a sucker and I'm totally ok indulging him because one day far too soon he won't want or need my comfort. 

Mary woke up super early this morning and Miles went in her room to get her to go back to sleep, but he said she refused and said she wanted Mommy and wanted to go downstairs. So he brought her to bed and the four of us crammed into our queen sized bed for a few more hours of rest. We've never been a co-sleeping bunch. Nothing against it, just that it's not our thing. The kids typically sleep well in their own beds, and Miles and I certainly get better sleep without little feet and arms poking us all night. But waking up (at nearly 9am I might add!) on Mother's Day with these little babes hogging my space and stealing my pillow was the best way I could have asked to start my day. 

I'm so glad Miles snapped this picture. It's by no means flattering, but I treasure it all the same.

Mother's Day is so complicated and heavy for so many people, myself included. Hope it was at least gentle for those who needed it to be. 


April 30, 2017

April: A Marathon of a Month

Oh, that blog title is so cheesy. But really, April has been crazy and I now have a lot of catching up to do on all we've been up to this past month. The month was book ended with marathons with a whole lot of travel in the middle. The month started with a trip to Manchester, England where I ran the Manchester Marathon (the race village was in the Manchester United stadium area for those of you football fans). We stayed for just one night, but it seems like a neat city and we were glad to be able to visit if only briefly. Marathon went well and we came back home for Finn to finish up his last week of school before term break and a couple days after we got back, Miles' parents arrived.

After Miles' parents arrived, as in the following day, Miles and I flew to New York for a few days. He had a conference to attend for the scholarship he is on and spouses were welcome to attend as well (meaning, spouses travel was paid for so OF COURSE I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity while we had grandparents available to watch the kiddos). 

The fist day Miles was in a conference and meetings at West Point so I spent the day visiting with several of my friends who are living there. It was SO nice to see them and get to catch up. We also got to swing by the cemetery and have a beer with Daren.

The following day we toured the 9/11 memorial and museum. The last time I was there was in 2003 when it was still "Ground Zero" and they had only just begun construction. It was as powerful and emotionally draining as I suspected it would be and absolutely worth the visit.

We returned to England after three nights away and a few days after returning we took off on a big UK (plus) trip. I'll share pictures and do a blog from each of the places we visited in due time (hopefully not another month!) 


March 22, 2017

Our British Home

We've been in England for six months now which is over a quarter of our time here! Crazy how fast it is going. I wanted to share pictures of our house here, mostly so years from now I'll have a record of it and can remember what it looked like, but also because I took pictures of rooms only when they were clean so needless to say it took awhile...

We looked at several places when we first moved here (we stayed at two Air BnBs for a month total until moving into our home), and this house was definitely our favorite so I'm glad it worked out. We are only a half mile walk from Finn's school, a ten minute walk from the grocery store and a few shops, and we are lucky that we don't live directly off a busy street (like a couple of the others we looked at). Plus we have a driveway which is a big deal here. A lot of places have street parking only and that would have just gotten old. We live only two miles from the city center which makes Miles bike commute very easy. It's funny though because even though we feel super close to everything a lot of people have commented how we live "so far away." Living right in the city center isn't really ideal for a family, so we are happy with our part of town.

Out back we have a nice little garden and patio area. The pole to the right of the below picture is a clothes drying rack which I have never used because it rains too much and has been chilly since we moved in. But maybe I'll get some use out of it later this spring/summer.

Once you enter the house, we have a little entry way (with raincoats always at the ready) and a hallway that leads to the kitchen/family room.

The kitchen (and several other rooms) was completely remodeled prior to us moving in (in fact waiting for the remodel is what our move in date was based around). And the room next to the kitchen that we've made a family room was an addition to the house. The family room used to be upstairs (called a sitting room here), but that would have made things a little too tight and we already left a good bit in storage, like our big farmhouse table which I love, but we were worried about it fitting through doorways here. We bought a cheapie little kitchen table which works just fine, but it certainly feels small when we have company over (first world problems).

Even though I don't have my gallery ledges, I was able to use these wide windowsills to my advantage.

When you go upstairs our room is what used the be the sitting room. It's an odd shape and because of the windows it makes furniture layout even more bizarre. A full bath was added, but this room doesn't have closets, but because of the size, it made the most sense to make this the master bedroom. Miles uses the closets in the office and I use the closets in Mary's room.

 Across the hall is the office/guest room/Miles' yoga room. There is a full bath in it as well. It's another oddly shaped room, but it can fit an air mattress if we need it, though usually when we have company we give them Mary's room and Mary and Finn share a room.

The third floor is the kids rooms on either side and a bathroom in the middle. Finn's room is the largest bedroom in the house, but we didn't want to make it our bedroom as then we'd end up having the kids on separate floors and with the bathroom layout it made sense to have them sharing a bathroom. So we put the playroom stuff in his room, which he was SO excited about when we first moved in, but the novelty has worn off. For about a month or so when we had people over to the house Finn loved to show off his room and on more than one occasion asked our house guest, "is my room bigger than yours?" He's very humble, that one.

We also have a messy garage (not pictured) which is mostly full of bikes, scooters, storage items, and the washer and dryer. Another very British thing we discovered is that most places have a washer/dryer combination, meaning it's one machine that does both, but we found it does both rather poorly. Thankfully the Air Force Base nearby, which has been so good to us, has some dryers that they lend out to people free of charge for the duration of their time here. They also hooked us up with a table, beds, and a kitchen starter set until our furniture arrived which was so great.

So there you have it, our little British home sweet home.


March 8, 2017

Trip to Wales

Finn (and Miles) have a big term break every quarter. Finn also has a mid term break in between those, but it's during the larger term break that we want to always take advantage of living here and do some traveling. Over the winter break our big trip was to Paris, but after the holidays we still had a little bit of time before school started up for the boys so we decided to drive to Wales for an overnight trip as it's only a couple hours away.

We drove to Cardiff, the capital of Wales, where our first stop was at the Cardiff Castle. It's the second Castle we've been to here (Warwick being the other) - this one dated back to the 11th century, but when it was relandscaped many, many years later they discovered old Roman remains dating to the THIRD CENTURY. 

After visiting the Castle we drove to St. Fagan's which, according to a review Miles read, was like the Jamestown of Wales. It was pretty, but the better time to go (like most places) is in the summer as they have a lot of activities for kids and a lot more educational entertainment.

We stayed at an airbnb that night and then the following morning went out for breakfast and a quick stop to the Cardiff bay before heading back home.

Photo from the Cardiff City Center the day prior

We miss living near the water. The WARM water.

Cool building in the Roald Dahl Plaza which also has a soccer stadium (seen just behind) 
that was used during the London Olympics