18 August 2014

it's the most wonderful time of the year.......

taken outside the british library.

they were matching. so i made them take a picture. and they actually cooperated. amazing.

the most wonderful time of the year.
no...not december and christmas.
but rather, august and the beginning of SCHOOL.
my instagram feed has been littered with snaps of well-groomed children in their back-to-school best.
hair combed. brand new shoes tied. backpacks strapped to their backs.
smiles of excitement, apprehension and reluctance (sometimes all three in one smile!).

and here we are.
living in london.
not as residents...but as visitors in a foreign land.
so my children will not be joining the throngs.
i won't be forced to battle the back-to-school store aisles, tussling over the last pack of pencils.
i won't have to suffer the cheque book shock of filling closets and drawers with school appropriate clothing.
i won't have to cringe when the too-helpful shoe store sales person tells me that my son AND daughter no longer fit children's size shoes (elijah has been out of the smaller (therefore cheaper) child's size shoes for some time. but i'm truly afraid lucy will be out of them this autumn as well).
i won't have to sigh when little sister starts pouting and whining because her siblings get all these new, fun supplies and clothes.

i won't have to endure the back to school scramble.
not this year anyway.
and i really should be thankful.
grateful that i can take advantage of discounted school supplies and clearanced clothes.

i SHOULD be grateful.
and i am.
i am sincerely glad i won't have to suffer through the madness this year.
i'm also a bit sad.
sad to be missing that special first day
especially as this was to be lucy's first day of kindergarten.
a milestone if there ever was one.
and that makes my heart heavy.
yes, they are having an experience of a lifetime.
and yes, they will be back in school soon.
and yes again, i am doing school work with them here at home.
but still...
still i'm disappointed.
just a bit.

to combat my feelings of disappointment, i did what i do best.
i got my camera out.
stuck their faces in front of it.
asked them questions about what they most looked forward to about the coming year.
and it helped.
a bit.
i'm so glad for these snaps...but will be thankful once they're safely ensconced in their appropriate classrooms.

"what are you looking forward to most about school, lucy?" ...

FRIENDS. (oh this girl misses her friends!)

and learning how to read. really read. so i can read stories to sam! (she loves pages through books, telling the stories by looking at the pictures. she can't wait to know what the words say though...)
"second grade, elijah. what are you looking forward to about second grade?"

playing with my friends at recess. (friends have been missed most acutely on this trip)

and maths. (to which i asked "why maths?"...to which he shrugged and answered, "because it's easy." hmmm...he did NOT get that from me!)

13 August 2014

can it be true?

it was a few days after the fact.
I realised I hadn't taken a snap of Sam at nine months.
not a huge deal...but still.
a moment I wanted captured.
conveniently, we were out at a local park when I had the thought...so I just plopped Sam in the grass and started snapping away.
Sam wasn't exactly thrilled with a camera in his face and this was all I was getting from him:

smirks and less-than-thrilled expressions.
handsome, yes.
smiling, happy, nine month old? no.

this was as close to a smile as I got:

so I asked his siblings to aid in the cause.
they stood behind me and danced and sang and yelled and jumped up and down over and over again.
but instead of hilarity and smiles, he gave us this:

oh! quite the sad face!
and we laughed at his pout and gave him kisses and tickles and cheered him right up.
but goodness...is there anything cuter?

07 August 2014

craving home.

it's august!
do you know what that means?
it's time to start thinking about christmas!

no seriously.
i'm only slightly kidding.

if you know me at all, you know that i despise summer.
maybe i don't despise it.
perhaps loathe in a better word.
okay. okay.
there are things i do love about summer.
nectarines and raspberries.
sun-tanned toes.
the way the sunlight slants through the trees on its way to make morning on the other side of the globe.
those things.
i do love those things.

but come august, i am ready to be done.
done with summer.
i want snow and ice and dark nights.
my stores of patience for hot days have been wholly depleted.
my taste for tomatoes has waned.
the nail polish on my toes has long since chipped.
i long for fires in the grate, sweaters and socks.
for twinkle lights and snowflakes.
to bake breads and muffins and cookies without worrying about the heat from the oven.
i start pinning christmas decorations and gift ideas to my pinterest boards.
dreaming of days when the yarn of my knitting projects won't stick to my sweaty palms.

oh winter.
come soon!

in this particular season of life, i am even more desperate for the changing of seasons ceremony.
winter means i will know.
know where we are living.
where my kids will be going to school.
where we will find community and a church body to fellowship with regularly.

i don't mind this not knowing business so much...
not really.
but it is wearing.
there is a part of me that wants to make plans.
to buy season appropriate clothing.
to have my craft stash within reach to actually make the pins i'm pinning.

i'm not sure what the autumn and winter seasons hold for our family.
we're enjoying this adventure while it lasts.
but it will be a reprieve to my soul to finally settle somewhere.
set up shop.
dig down some roots.
have a home.

maybe that's why i'm craving christmas and all those wintery, homey comforts.

05 August 2014

technology crisis.

I posted this on my instagram account yesterday:

so. there's a reason i haven't posted in a while.
my phone has completely crapped out.
i can't use the whole right side of the touch screen.
which isn't a problem if i can reorient the screen horizontally.
but...for those apps that don't reorient (ahem instagram), i literally can't post anything.
because i'm in another country, i can't get a new phone until i get back.
for now, if you want to see our adventures, please visit my blog.
i will do my best to get it caught up this week.
thanks for the love!

what does that mean for this space?
hopefully, that i will be posting much, much more!
it also means there will be more phone snaps on here as well (though those will decrease in number as i get caught up on my pile of editing because i actually can't use the camera on my phone anymore either).
i'm bummed that my phone is being lame but i'm also a bit excited about this forced sabbatical from handheld technology. 
i'm hoping to write more. 
edit more.
post more.

we shall see.

some sneak peeks of posts coming, all taken with an iphone:

a walk-about with my old friend, Ben...

an afternoon in Parliament Square...

a supremely hot walk across Green Park...

a lovely knit shop find...

Paddington Bear in Paddington Station...

a lovely day in Greenwich...

Tower Bridge!

me! in a picture! with all my kids!

tube travels...

a tour of Buckingham Palace!
and much, much more. the amount of photos I have to got through and edit is truly overwhelming.

04 August 2014

Churchill War Rooms

one of my favourite outings thus far took place on a rainy friday. john was able to join us (which helped make it such a fun day) as we traipsed across town to take in a fascinating course in world history in the form of the Churchill War Rooms. I've always been intrigued by the World War II era and wanted to learn more about Winston Churchill so this was a natural stop for us. honestly, it was amazing. so well presented and interesting. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information crammed into the exhibits. it was captivating to walk down the hallways left just as they were during the war years. the kids adored the handsets that allowed them to listen in to kid-centric information on what they were seeing. I would love to go back and poke about; there was more to see that my kids' attention spans didn't allow for...

a few snaps from the War Rooms:

the door from 10 Downing Street when Churchill was Prime Minister.

in the top left-hand corner of the picture, you can see a pencil drawing of Hitler.

map pins...

he looks real but he's not!

just outside...
after the War Rooms, we were starving so we found a pub nearby for lunch. we loved walking the streets of London, waving at the Horse Guards, counting red telephone boxes and watching for peeks of Big Ben.

gnawing on a rib bone - I have a snap of all four of my kids doing this exact thing at about the same age.

since we were so close, we wandered over to Trafalgar's Square. the kids wanted to climb on the lion statues that guard the column at the centre. the lions were swarming with tourists so we joined the throng and waited our turn.

Lucy is there on the lion's back...

climbing up...

he was LOVING being in the centre of London.

a phone snap of all six of us!
after Trafalgar's Square, we headed home via the Underground, our favourite form of London transport. all in all, a grand day out!

03 August 2014

painting watercolours with a camera.

poking about someone's garden, when they're not with you, is a bit like paging through their diary or peeking into their cupboards.
when we first arrived at the home we're renting and i took my first trip around their allotment, i must admit to feeling a bit awkward.
like i needed to be furtive, clandestine.
as we've lived here more than a month, that feeling has worn off, of course, and we feel quite at home.
i find myself wandering about, camera in hand, enjoying the landscape and garden beds.
it isn't a traditional english garden.
or even a very embellished one.
no frills, no fuss.
just lovely, growing things.
lots of raspberries and blackberry brambles.
an apple tree or two.
a few over-grown tomato plants.
other varieties of flora that my american, non-gardener self doesn't recognise.
my photographic eye has always been drawn to green, growing things.
to nature and creation.
the patterns and colours and shades and shapes capture me
and i find myself pressing my camera to my face, composing image after image after image.
i don't usually post these images...or even do much with them at all really.
i feel most might find them boring.
would prefer pictures with faces, people.
but i thought i would post a few here today.
just some of the snaps my mind and eye saw on one of my walk-abouts a few weeks ago.
it was a dreamy kind of day...
the kind where the sun and clouds play chase and tag and peek-a-boo.
the air was a bit hazy.
heavy with summer.
even the bees seemed to feel it as they bumbled along, slower than their usual scramble.
my eyes painted watercolours, and my camera clicked along.

 and because no post is complete without a few pictures of my kids: