February 15, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018

The kids have their half term break this week which means that I don't have to bother with any of the Valentine's Day madness that consumes the states! I think it's fun for kids to have a run little day, but mercy, it's gotten out of control hasn't it?! And I'm just as guilty. When Mary was a baby I mailed out valentine pictures of the kids! Which meant I took their pictures ahead of time. Gross.

I wasn't even going to bother with pictures today, but then thought about how annoyed I was that I didn't take any pictures in 2016 and at six and four my kids are still young enough to tolerate such nonsense. Plus it literally took me five minutes. Make a Lego heart, throw on some red, tell a fart joke to get a good smile, DONE.

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day.

Bought this cheap shirt at Target three years ago. 
Finn has worn it each Valentines day and it actually finally fits this year!

 Previous Valentine's Day Photos:


January 29, 2018

2017 Loose Ends (1 of 2)

Because my blog took a backseat to Instagram in 2017 here are a few of the things I didn't post about, but want to remember.

First Day of School
When the kids went to school in early September, Finn was quick to point out that it was NOT his first day of school, just his first day back to school. He walked confidently into his classroom excited to see some familiar faces. It's neat to look back on a year ago and see how far he's come. He's adjusted to the long days of school, he's reading, he really enjoys math (or 'maths' as they say here, which I find so obnoxious), he doesn't have a hard time at drop off like he did for a little bit of time last year as he was adjusting to the move/new school. He has come so far in his phonics and even further on his sweet little British accent!
Mary, on the other hand, had the typical reaction a little one does when going off to school for the first time - girlfriend was NOT having it. She cried big tears the first day and it broke my heart, but thankfully the teachers were well prepared for it and she was all smiles at pick up. The second day was better, though she was still a little leery, and then in no time she adjusted and started looking forward to school! She only goes for half days, but school has been really great for her and I'm glad she has the socialization with other kids.

Big hug after the first day.
She told Miles it was her favorite part of the day.
Berlin Marathon
End of September we flew to Berlin (where Miles was born!) and I got to run the Berlin Marathon. I couldn't have asked for a better race - the weather was great (just the slightest drizzle that kept the temps down), a great course, great crowd support, etc. I got to see Miles and the kids along the route and he said it was much easier to navigate than London was given that London is just so congested with spectators. There was an attempt to break the world record (current record was set at Berlin) so it was neat to run on the course knowing the world record might be broken. Alas, it was not, but still made for an exciting aspect to the race. Berlin gave me my first Boston Qualification which will be good for the 2019 Boston Marathon and I felt really great during the whole race - never hitting the wall or feeling like my legs were spent. I hope to be lucky enough to have more races like it in the future.

Afterwards, Finn told me he loved watching me race and that "Mary was a little bad."
Nothing a muffin couldn't fix, fortunately!

New Skills
Over the summer Finn mastered bike riding. He now rides to school each day which has been such a nice (and quick) way to get there! He's campaigning hard for a "gear" bike and we wanted to get him one for Christmas, but he's still just a little too short for it, so we are thinking maybe for his 7th birthday (how is his next birthday his SEVENTH!?!)

School Plays
In December the kids both had school plays. Mary was supposed to dress up as a star and looked adorable (they asked us to bring in a white undershirt and tinsel), but on the second day of performance she wanted NOTHING to do with dressing up (neither of my kids have ever really enjoyed dressing up) and the teachers said not to sweat it, there's always a few rebels - the show will go on!

Finn, who has never enjoyed the spotlight (a few years ago he had a Valentines program at his preschool in Savannah and he pulled his shirt up over his mouth so as not to have to sing in front of people) still proved he probably doesn't have a future on Broadway, but he did do a great job standing up and saying the two lines he had. Photographic evidence of his enjoyment ;)

I think that's most of what I neglected to post with the exception of family/friends visits and travel I have yet to share. Spoiler Alert: 2018 probably won't be much of an improvement for blog updates - sorry Danielle (and anyone else who might actually still read this!)

December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017 was the year of the Lego. For Finn anyway.  Last year he got a bunch as well, but this year - the kid scored big time. The funny thing is, we actually got the kids very little. Finn got a Lego set from Santa (the one he specifically requested from the big guy when we visited and Mary had a meltdown), Mary got a Sylvanian Families set (Calico Critters) also from Santa, they both got a book, a coloring book, Finn got a second Lego set from us and Mary got a little keyboard (a LOUD little keyboard), the rest of the crap stuff was from family and friends. Oh, and we got them movies on their kindles because tomorrow we leave for a nine day road trip. We had gotten them snow bibs, but those really are for the trip so I didn't bother giving them as gifts (but sorta hit all the 'want, need, wear, read' categories)

On Christmas Eve we made cookies, went to church (Finn fell asleep on my lap during the entire service!), and had an exciting evening preparing for Santa. The kids slept in until just after 8 (God Bless!) and even when Finn woke up, he didn't know what time it was so told Mary they had to go back to bed because Santa told them not to wake up until 8am. They are sharing a room right now as Miles' parents are visiting and I love that they were together for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, I think it made it all the more exciting for them.

They were really pleased to see their cookies eaten and Finn read the note Santa left before they dashed off to discover the presents. I'm sure I say it every year, but the holidays with little kids are so wonderful.

If you're reading this, I hope you had a happy, peaceful day.

Oye, that lighting is doing me no favors. But the kids are cute!


December 18, 2017

Mary Turns Four

When I walked into her room the morning of the big day, I said, "it's your birthday today!" to which she excitedly replied in almost a whisper, "yeahhhh!" When I wished her a happy birthday she informed me, "I'm BERY big now" and at four, she feels just that - entirely too big.

She went from shy and skeptical of others to much more social and confident during the course of this past year. She was mostly really good during the travels throughout the year, though she is not a fan of cold weather (especially if wind is involved).

She could listen to the soundtrack of Moana every day and sings along with great enthusiasm. She loves books, playing picnic, and putting together puzzles. She is the worst at hide-and-seek, but loves playing regardless. 

When she needs to blow her nose she says, "I have snots" and she is obsessed with asking anyone she meets, "what's your favorite color?" followed by "what's your favorite dinosaur?"

She started school this year and was hesitant and nervous at first, but only a few days later she was happy and comfortably settled, quickly making friends and turning our hearts to mush with her after school running hug.

She has sass and attitude and does not like to be told no.

She is also empathetic and gentle and a lover of all animals, sleeping with no less than half a dozen stuffed animals each night.

She does not like to see Finn hurt, does like to rat on him when he's being naughty, and mimics his antics often.

We still call her our baby, and regardless of her big girl status, she will always be just that.


December 11, 2017

Snow Day

On Sunday we woke up to our first proper snow day! It snowed the whole night and when we woke up Miles said, "I don't think you're running today" as I had a 10k race that day, which got cancelled. I went in to wake the kids and it was so neat seeing their reactions when they looked outside. Finn jumped up and looked out the window right by his bed and goes, "ohhh I can build a snowman today!" and hustled to get dressed, heading outside before he even had breakfast. It snowed for the majority of the day and we spent pretty much the whole day outside except to come in and eat and warm up for a bit. It really was such a fun day - I felt like everyone was in such a good mood. I walked into town to get groceries (passing by so many people holding umbrellas which seemed so British to me to use an umbrella in the snow) and everyone was so friendly and we saw so many people outside just wanting to soak up the day before it turned to slush and mush and melted all away (as it did pretty much the following day). But honestly it seemed like it brought out a jovial side in everyone - we all got to be kids for the day. I have NEVER woken up to a snow day that involved actually getting to go enjoy the snow. I never did growing up (because, Arizona) and then while there was lots of snow at West Point there was definitely no running outside to build a snowman. It was more like look at the pretty snow while you walk to class and prepare for a Physics test you'll probably fail. Anyway, this snow day just felt really special. England doesn't get much snow - our neighbors said the last time they had snow like this was in 2011. It barely snowed last year - I remember it did ever so briefly one afternoon and if you weren't outside at the time you would have missed it. So unfortunately this probably will be the only snow day we experience while living in the UK, so I'm especially grateful we could enjoy it so much.

Mary and our neighbor Jack. Aren't they the cutest little things?

Next door neighbors. These buddies have so much fun together.

I took this picture in the morning and the below one in the afternoon -
you can see how much had already fallen off the trees!