July 22, 2017

London Marathon Recap

Tomorrow marks three months since I ran the London Marathon and I'm just now getting around to writing this - yikes! 

I ran for the charity Tommy's which funds research into stillbirth as well as provides services to families who lose a baby. Originally I was on a wait list to run with them, but was so happy when a slot opened up. I felt a little guilty about soliciting for donations since I've hit up the same generous pool of family and friends a few times, but as always, the people who made donations made me so grateful and humbled and just really proud that I could do something for Cale. Because of them Tommy's received almost £2,500!

The Marathon itself was incredible. There were literally spectators and supporters lining the streets the ENTIRE route. And they were at least three deep on either side. I was able to see Miles, his mom, and Finn around the halfway point (Mary was with Grandpa and I missed them, unfortunately). I wasn't racing this marathon - it was all about the experience and I'm so glad I didn't have a time pressure because the environment was just crazy and worth soaking up and not being stressed over my pace. 

Tommy's had two cheer stations along the course which was nice - to know that you would pass by a group that would be specifically cheering for you. I had put my name on my top and was glad I did, it definitely gives you a boost when you hear someone call your name and give you some encouragement. I saw several other Tommy's runners along the course which was nice too. I didn't expect it to be as emotional at times as it was. Which, in hindsight is silly, I'm a pretty emotional runner as is and this time I was running because of Cale. I guess what surprised me was just the ache I felt - it's like while I was grateful to get to run because of him and raise some money for a good cause, I also just really missed him. I kept thinking how I wished he was with Miles and I'd get to see his little face along the way and what a nice boost that would be for me. I really just felt this overwhelming sense of how much his presence was missed.

I didn't see any royalty though later learned they were out spectating around the mile seven mark and they handed up medals - in fact Princess Kate handed out a medal to a guy I remember running next to AT THE VERY END. He went in a different line (there were several at the finish) and I had stopped to take a picture of the finish line before crossing. I missed my chance to become BFFs with Kate - damn!

Nonetheless the race was amazing. I'm so, so grateful for the chance to have experienced it.


July 12, 2017

Roman Baths

After the Ireland and Scotland visits, we took a day trip out to Bath in Somerset, England to tour the Roman Baths and walk around the city that I'm now anxious to get back to.  It also makes me want to re-read a lot of Jane Austen novels because of her (and her novels) connection to Bath. A lot of the tours we have gone on have the audio guides and thankfully have versions for kids. Finn enjoys following along, no telling how much he's actually absorbing, but he sure plays the part well.


July 6, 2017

Trip Recap: Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland

I still have a few more posts to do on our April travels with Miles' parents, and hope to be caught up on all blog posts my the end of this month.

After our time in Northern Ireland we took the ferry to Scotland stopping in Glasgow for just one night. I'm sure there's a lot more to the city than we saw during our brief time there, but we also felt like one night was a good enough time to spend there as it was Edinburgh we were far more enchanted with. While in Glasgow we went to the Glasgow Cathedral which was really incredible. It reminded me so much of what I picture the Cathedral in Pillars of the Earth to be like. 

We also very briefly walked around the downtown area after a nice dinner stopping in front of Glasgow City Chambers for a couple of photos.

The following day we went to a museum in Glasgow that was all things planes, trains, and automobiles. Museums in the UK are free which has been such a perk to living here! Also, random AstroTurf giant chair at entrance:

I thought we were in Edinburgh for two nights, but looking back through pictures I realized it was only one! We managed to squeeze a lot in, but also knew we'd be back the following month for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. We did another city bus tour which is a great way to see a lot in a little amount of time and take a break from all the walking. We hoped off the bus to check out the Edinburgh Castle which is the most massive and impressive castle we have been to yet. Pictures don't really do it justice because of how hard it is to capture each part of the castle, but it was really neat exploring and we easily could have spent more time there.

Castles are exhausting  

After Scotland we drove home. It's about a six hour drive so we stopped in Carlisle, England for lunch and a quick walk outside the Carlisle castle.

We had two nights back home in Oxford with a day trip to Bath (next post) before we headed in to London for the Marathon. 


July 4, 2017

Declaring Independence from Donald Trump?

Ok so let me preface this all with the fact that I know we are so lucky for the opportunity to live overseas for two years and for the most part I really do love it and the experience and traveling it has enabled our family to do, yadda, yadda, yadda. BUT, today I was just sorta in a mood and missed "home" and felt nostalgic and a little sad.

It started when I went to Finn's class assembly today and one my way out another mom commented on how nice it was that I could bring Mary. Only it was said in a way that I genuinely don't know if she was just being nice or if it was sorta a passive aggressive dig at the fact that I DID bring Mary (who was the only sibling in attendance, but very well behaved). Anyway, not really knowing how to take that I continued on and was about to leave when a lady from the from office stopped me to ask me about Mary's enrollment and give me a hard time for not attending a meet the teacher night I wasn't even aware of! I felt bad for not knowing about it (though got no email or notification of it), but was also annoyed at how short she was with me. The truth is that in general the faculty at Finn's school hasn't been very friendly/warm. It's definitely NOTHING like the kindess and love that was shown at Finn's preschool in Savannah. When Finn was still adjusting to school here I stressed if I made the wrong decision in which school to send him to, and today that worry resurfaced. But Finn IS mostly happy at school and doing really well, so I have to remind myself of that. Unfortunately, I totally let it put me in a bad mood and found it fitting that I would be annoyed with Brits on the 4th of July.

That combined with the fact that Miles is away right now for an internship and this holiday, which is my favorite, isn't celebrated here (obviously) - heck, Finn is still in school! It just didn't feel like the special, happy, day I'm used to. Aside from my deployment, this is the only time I haven't been stateside for the 4th! Anyway, it all resulted in my throwing myself a little pity party.

Thankfully, another military family was sweet and invited me over to their get together and I knew it would be good for the kids and I to go instead of me putting them to bed and feeling sorry for myself. Plus, they had sparklers and s'mores, so it ended up being a really nice night for which I'm grateful my rotten mood didn't spoil the whole day!

One funny aside - as I was talking about the 4th with the kids, I said "Do you know who America declared its independence from?" to which Finn replied "Donald Trump?" (bahahah). After I stopped laughing I said, "No, from England" and his eyes got really big and he said, "THIS country!?" and then we talked about how THAT went down because it totally shocked him!

I hope that those reading this had a happy, less woe-is-me, 4th of July . . . wherever you might be.