This year we have a red power ranger, a student from Hogwart’s Wizard school, and a ninja. Daniel took this picture and told everyone to be serious. Apparently August doesn’t know serious yet.
On our third day in London we came face to face with a dilemma. A big one. We had on our list to see West Minster Abbey and the Churchill War Rooms. Everyone we talked to had told us how fabulous those were. We wanted to see them, so badly, but at the same time we felt saturated with history and beautiful architecture. We felt that we just weren’t sure we could appreciate it the way we wanted to or knew we should.
So we made a bold decision to skip them completely and take in a museum and see the famous “Harrods” department store. It was weird to know that others might think our decision was crazy, that others may judge us for going all the way to England to take in an exhibit on Plywood and go to eat at a department store, but we don’t regret our decision AT ALL.
We decided to be true to ourselves and what we love….museums, exhibits about furniture, beautiful displays that delight the eyes beyond what words can discribe, and food that is so good it is almost a spiritual experience. It was a perfect way to end our trip. It was so “us” and so so so good.
We hopped first thing onto one of the red bus tours around the city. It was everything I hoped it would be! The tour guide was engaging and interesting and we were able to learn so much about all the big historic spots as well as some of the small historic spots.
Daniel and I keep commenting on how stunning the architecture is. I realize how American I will sound when I say this, but I must record my shock and awe: I kept thinking that there is no way seeing the big historic site in person would impress me. I have already seen all these site in everyone else’s photos or on the big screen in movies. That being said, I am so very wrong; every sight we see takes my breath away.
On the tour we got to see Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, The London Eye, The London Tower, The London Tower Bridge, Twinnings Tea Shop (that has been serving tea there for 300 years!), the first two faced clock (Politician’s clock), Pudding Street (and the story of where the London fires originated; the fires that killed all the rats that killed out the plague), the bank district, the business district (which included the “walkie talkie building” and the “cheese grater” building as our guide called them), the smallest pub, the oldest pub, St. Paul’s Cathedral (famous for being another astounding church by Christopher Wren as well as other things, but I best know it as the place that Mary Poppins sings about “feeding the birds”), Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, Downing Street, and even some of the stores where the royalty shops, etc etc.
About halfway on the tour we took a stop to walk along the Thames river and cross the London Tower Bridge. We stopped at a covered Farmers Market called Burrough’s Market. We stumbled across it and were drawn in by the smells and sights of amazing looking food. It ended up being one of our biggest highlights! Every single stall of food took our breath away; displayed as though just casually laid out…but with such perfection to draw the eye and lure you in. Our jaws just kept falling to the floor in awe. We got pork belly and a scotch egg….the most lovely stop of serendipity.
We ended our walk all the way at the Tate Modern. Despite the incredible history everywhere in London, Daniel and I can’t help being drawn to modern art. Picasso, Monet, Magritte, Kandinsky, Pollock, Warhol….so many of my favorite artists not to mention the incredible modern art by new artists. After two hours we only scratched the surface of all this free museum had to offer, but our feet and backs told us it was time to call and end to our touring.
After all the walking we couldn’t wait to sit so it just seemed like the perfect idea to take in a show in London’s famous West End Theater district. I have always wanted to see “Wicked”, and there it was, walking distance from our flat. We dressed up, took in a fabulous dinner, and got treated to the “Ambassador’s Lounge” before the show. The show itself was breath-taking. The sets, the singing, the acting; I have never seen a show so impressive! It was everything I imagined it would be and more!!
What an incredible day! London is even more awe-inspiring then I ever imagined it could be.
It is our first day in London. Everything is just how I imagined it would be. The way I felt at the train station was reminiscent of the Harry Potter scene where Harry feels a bit overwhelmed at the chaos of it all; everyone around him walking at the speed of light and knows just where to go. Both overwhelming and thrilling at the same time. We walked from the train station to our London flat, the lowest level of a Londoner’s home that we are renting for our three nights here. Reminds me of the “brownstones” in Boston; gorgeous and far more spacious than I would have ever imagined being able to afford here.
We are both exhausted from having so many “go go go” days, yet also excited for our London adventures that await us. Tomorrow we will take a double decker red bus tour to try and see as much as we can!
I don’t know what hit Sebastian recently, but MAN has he developed a crazy LOVE for games.
When I first met Daniel’s family they asked if I liked to play games. I didn’t know how to answer. As a youngest who often found myself asking my siblings, “Will you play a game with me” and never getting a affirmative…I didn’t really know if I liked to play games. “Don’t worry, we will teach you,” they said.
Quickly I was hooked. I was so enamored by the fact that he had a family that all played games together….as a whole family…this pretty much seemed like the holy grail to me. I dreamed of having that same kind of love for games and bonding with my kids.
Today is that day.
Recently Sebastian has really taken to games….every kind. Board games, card games, pretty much any game you can imagine. We usually play several each day. He is 5 and he can play games 8+ (thank God, because games get way more interesting when they are 8+) and in all honesty, he can pick them up faster then most adults we have taught. It is a fun way to teach him math and reading as well as critical thinking! (We are still working on good sportsmanship)
When we first bought this house 7 years ago I didn’t love the house paint on the outside, but it was only a couple years old so it just didn’t make financial sense to change it. I loved the red door, but just not the tone of the red (pink-ish maroon).
My logical side put painting the house on the back burner.
Now 7 years have passed. Doing cosmetic changes on a house are so hard to convince yourself to change. I mean, we don’t NEED it. The house is perfectly functional and beautiful the way it was.
However something happened this month. I don’t know what it was that put a bug in our bonnet, but Daniel and I talked about updating some things on the front of our house. Maybe because the two houses next to us are both up for sale and so we are inspired to give our house a little face-lift too? Whatever the reason we bit the bullet and went for it. We couldn’t afford to paint the whole house, but Daniel painted the eves, the front door, all the window frames, and the back doors. We got a new mailbox, new house numbers, and a new porch light. I put in some cactus plants in front flower bed.
Although none of it was needed per se, I am so glad we did it. I feel like the outside of our house finally looks like US. It is ours. It is our style…it is so us. I love it. No I LOVE IT. So so much. Every time I pull into the driveway I get a huge smile on my face…it just feels like “our home” in a way it never quite did before.
Step one: painting garage door
Step two: new plants
Step three: painting eves and trim
Step four: painting front door
Step five: new mailbox, new numbers, and new porch light.
This year I asked Dayla if she wanted to go somewhere (like Nickle City or Pump it UP) for her party like her friends get to do. She said to me, “But mom, you throw such amazing parties! I want to do my party at home!” I was flattered right into another over-the-top birthday party theme for my sweet Dayla girl.
For Dayla’s birthday party this year she asked for an emoji theme. I wasn’t sure what games could be emoji, or what activities we could do in that theme, or even what food we could eat in that theme…but I always say that I like a challenge!
We came up with some emoji pops (oreos dipped in yellow chocolate), an emoji birthday cake, and an emoji scavenger hunt.
The crown jewel of the party though was the photo booth! I made a background by taping some yellow plates on our wall, Dayla made all the props (that made people look like emoji faces), and then Daniel set up the tripod and snapped away. Instant photo booth! The kids LOVED this activity! We printed up the photos with one hour and photo and got to send them all home with personalized party favors. It was a hit for sure.
That wasn’t all! The party didn’t end at 5pm…for Dayla’s big 10 year old party we let her have all 12 girls spend the night! Phew!
All in all everyone had so much fun and the party was a big hit.