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!










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November 29, 2017

The Italy Trip Recap


I feel obligated to post a recap of our travels while living abroad mostly out of an obligation to my future self who will be annoyed (maybe?) if I just stopped documenting our time here. So here you go future Caroline, here's what you did in Italy in August of 2017:

We flew in to Milan which several people had told us was not a city we needed to bother spending much time in so we didn't. We were only there for the night as we took an evening flight. For the trip we decided NOT to bring carseats or rent a car and instead take the trains which we heard can be late and expensive, but overall we had a really positive experience with them (and it was more affordable than renting a car, paying for gas, and having to deal with the nightmare of trying to find parking everywhere we went). Our first train ride was from Milan out to Vicenza where we linked up with an Army friend of Miles who is stationed there. We were only in Vicenza for a couple days and that included a day trip out to Venice. Venice was beautiful, but crowded and hot. That probably was the theme of an August trip though - beautiful, crowded, and hot. I can definitely see why people find Venice to be so endearing.






Poor kids, having to go to Venice on a hot day. What a rough life.


I took very few pictures from our time in Vicenza, but here are two from a lovely run I went on before we left. This is Monte Berico and the Basilica that overlooks the city of Vicenza.



We took the train to Rome next where we spent the majority of the trip. We did all the touristy things - the Colosseum, Roman Ruins, Pantheon (our AirBnB was a stone's throw away from the Pantheon!), Vatican City, Spanish Steps, we even went out to the coast for a beach day which was a nice break from the tourist things (though those were wonderful).












From Rome we took the train to Florence where we spent the last few days of our trip. I'm so glad we ended the trip here as it wasn't nearly as busy or grand as Rome, but felt more like a peaceful, relaxed city. 

This was probably the best meal of the trip, possibly ever!






While all of the trips we have taken since moving abroad have been special in their own way, Italy was definitely a surreal one. I wouldn't recommend going in August, but it just meant we had to eat gelato at least once every day! 




BOB Strollers - the real MVP

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November 18, 2017

Halloween 2017

Halloween recap - better late than never. So I had gotten a little to excited about the idea of dressing up the kids as Mary Poppins and Bert the chimney sweep for Halloween, but Finn quickly made it known he had no interest in dressing up as a chimney sweep and partaking and when I listed all the things I would bribe him with he said he would put the costume on, but didn't want me to take a picture and didn't want anyone to see. Ugh. As much as I wanted to just force it on him, I didn't want to embarrass the kid or make him self conscious and thought I should probably respect his wishes which is totally annoying. Mary on the other hand was bribed with one Haribo gummy and she was good to go!



Unfortunately when it came to trick or treating Mary didn't want to be Mary Poppins. Both kids wants to reuse last years costumes and be American First Responders. The firefighter costume (which was a hand-me-down from a friend) has been in circulation since 2014!


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October 30, 2017

Octobers

The other day as I parked the car Finn looked over to see a family getting out of their car. There were three kids and he said, "I wish Cale was here. Do you wish he was?"

It always makes my heart skip a beat when I see how Cale's absence has impacted Finn. He's said similar things - like the time he mentioned that the neighbors have three kids in their family and we should have three. I think he really would like to have a (living) brother and it pains me that he doesn't, but it also makes me happy that we talk about Cale enough that he really understands that someone is missing and that Cale should be here.

.....

On the 15th of this month I lit a candle for Cale, like I always do, but I couldn't help but think how much even that simple act has changed over the years. It seems grief has really grown into an almost comfortable aspect of my daily life. The sharp pain and literal ache of not having my baby is more infrequent, replaced by a somber yearning for what should have been.


I'm both grateful to be at this point in my life and also at times nostalgic for the days when the missing was all consuming. 

.....

It was eight years ago this month I learned I was pregnant with Cale. Those precious memories of the excitement and hope we felt have not been tainted by his death. I can think of our time with him and feel gratitude and happiness because it was a time full of so much love. He was wanted, he was loved, he is loved, and he is missed. This October and all others.
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September 28, 2017

Finn Quotes

It's been a hot minute since I last shared some Finn quotes. Well, it's been a hot minute since I sat down and posted anything to this blog. Need to get better about that. Nonetheless, here's a bunch of things I've saved on my phone.

...

Finn: "Oh man, I just had a sneaky pee."
Me: "What do you mean?"
"I didn't know I had to go and then I HAD to go!"

...

"That's a lot of Legos I just carried. Beast Mode!"

...

"Mom, do you know what you can do to make people happy?"
"What?"
"You can give them a smile"

...

After pointing out a hole in his pants

"Well, it's a good thing I'm five and don't care about it"

...

"Remember when you said, 'Miles Sebastian' and Daddy said, 'Oh snap, I'm in trouble!'?"

...

sweet little Brit

"I love you mom"
"I love you too"
"And. . . you're lovely"

...

Talking to the kids the night before I had a race

Me: "Are you guys going to be good for daddy tomorrow?
Finn: "Yeah"
"Oh good"
"That means we're just going to shut up!"

...

such a humble one

"Uh, mom - why am I so smart?"

...

sweet brother

"Mom, what happened to Cale's cord when he died?"
"Well it just didn't work the way it should and he couldn't breathe"
"Why didn't it work?"
"I don't know sweetie"
"Maybe it wasn't charged"

...

Me: "Goodnight, I love you so much"
Finn: "I love you more than ever. And when you're old I'll take care of you"

...

"Dad, instead of saying, 'boom, roasted!' you could just say like, 'I knew it!'"

...

"Mom when you have another baby you should name him Trecko. Is that a good name?"
"Umm, I probably wouldn't pick it. Do you think I'm going to have another baby?"
"Yeah, if you find someone you want to marry."
"But I'm married to Daddy."
"Well now just marry someone else."

...

arguing with Mary

"Stop! Mary Stop it please!"
Me: "Mary if he asked you to stop, leave him alone"
"She's just annoying me. I'm being nice and calm and she's being mean and rude."

...

"I need to wash my face, it's very sticky."
Me: "Well we still need to take baths"
"Oh, that's perfect. It's even better than just washing my face!"

...

"I think Max and I are best friends. Or are we soul mates?...[long pause]...well, whats a soul mate?"

...

"Can I put new shoes on? I want to test how fast these babies go!"

...

on symmetry

Miles: "That's a nice symmetric Lego you're building."
Finn: "Yeah, it's symmetrical, like a sand mandala"

...

running up the stairs after getting home from school

"I'm getting changed so I can climb trees and do other cool tricks"


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