Flashback: Recipease and Kensington Palace Gardens

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One of my favorite girls, Casey, recommended this place to us, and I still can't get it out of my mind. She is my London girlfriend who was present at the infamous "Notting Hill Incident." I was determined to replace that memory with a really good one, and this place was just the ticket.

So, I promise I don't typically take pictures of everythinggg I eat. Okay...maybe some things.  But THIS! I of course got the mango lasi, because I can't ever pass one up. They added cardamon to theirs, and now I'm sure I have to make it myself and add in allll the cardamon. It was a great take on the typical mango lasi because it gave it just the perfect amount of spice. And that other delicious looking thing was the smashed spicy avocado toast. You know when the worst part of a meal is that it actually comes to an end. Yeah, that happened.

At the time, I was entirely too full to try out one of these meringues, but I wasn't too full to take a picture of them :) 

Cooking classes are offered here, and if I lived in London, I'd love to take one.

After brunch, we walked over to the Kensington Palace Gardens. I've said it before, but we really lucked out. The weather was so incredible our entire trip. I remember this day being even a bit warmer than I would have preferred. Not having to lug around coats was a total game changer on this trip. (On a side note...I've been asked by a couple people to share my packing tips, so I'll hopefully get around to that in another post. I packed for ten days, and all I brought was a small backpack (with room to spare for souvenirs) and an overnight bag.)

Two Euro posts in one week? I may be able to do this after all.

A Little Q&A

How old are you?
Two...no three!

When was your birthday?
'tember second.

What is your favorite animal?
Sea turtles.

What is your favorite food?
Red apples.

What is is your favorite color?

What do you want to be when you are a grown up?
I don't want to grow up and be anything!

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?
Laugh! Go to school with him.

What is your favorite thing to do with Mama?
Have a tea party and read books.

What is your favorite thing to do with Pato?
Play blocks. We build a house for all the people! 

What's something you don't like?
I don't like tags on my clothes.

If you could take an airplane somewhere, where would you go?
To the library! 

What's your favorite book?
The Little Prince. (Pop-up book) 

What is something that makes you happy?
You! (I'm melting.) 

What's something that makes you sad?

What is the smelliest thing in the world?
Mr. Poop!

Who is the silliest? 

Do you have dreams at night? About what?
I do! About the park. 

What should you do if you find an elephant in your bedroom?
Play with him! (Two minutes later she whispers to me and asks, "Are there any elephants in my room, mama?")

Love this new three-year-old!

Also...in case you missed it...my latest post at What To Expect! I wrote about a moment that I hope I will never ever forget. 

And then she was three!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Today has been a whirlwind!

A mixture of birthday excitement and "...at this time three years ago..." and "Mama, tell me a story of when I was a baby!" 

This is the first birthday where she knew what's up, and boy, does this girl think she's a fancy pants-hotshot- big girl now. TOTAL big girl status. 

It is also the first year where I actually felt prepared for the day, and hey! I made a cake! Well, she and I made it together. It was a little wonky, but it was pink and had a ton of sprinkles...so in her eyes, it was perfect. 

The day was spent doing things she liked and it was just the best. Presents, FaceTiming grandparents, donuts, a trip to the aquarium, and TWO restaurants. Spoiled this one. 

But, I wanted to take a second and tell you about this three-year-old. Because already today, she is much older than she was yesterday...

She is compassionate. I can already tell she will be a friend to many.

She laughs loudly. When she laughs, you want to do anything to not let it stop. 

She is a helper. 

She is curious and loves to learn. 

She is an encourager. She loves to cheer others on, and I hope she will always be supportive of those she loves. 

She is grateful. 

She is meticulous.

She is not mean. 

She is quick to forgive.

In short, she is already a better person than I. She has so many qualities I wish I had and I pray that these qualities are ones that grow with her.

feel like time is not being very generous with me, and letting the years slip by too quickly. Time is far too selfish. But for now, I will squeeze out every second I have with my girl. Every awesome, tiring, and loud second. 

Flashback: Oxford

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why do I always do this to myself? Wait until forever to get trip pictures up? Until I can't remember the background of each place and just have to resort to a big ol' boring photodump.

Bah. But, I told myself I'd get these pictures up, and slowly but surely I am. I've got family members asking for them, and I just need to get them on here. So, I apologize. I've already gone on and on about how much I love England, and Oxford just took our breath away. (I love you, London! Don't be jealous!)

The building on the right had bicycles chained all around it. We saw a notice saying that they all had to be removed by a certain date because a "period piece" was to be filmed there. In my my heart, I just knew it was Downton Abbey. Okay...maybe I was just realllly wishing I'd run into Maggie Smith. So. Bad.

C was particularly excited about this place. He was like a kid in a candy store at the Oxford University Press shop. Maybe someday he'll see a book of his there? Right?!

Kids, It's Okay to be Sad.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Don't be cranky! Don't be cranky! Don't be cranky!" I heard S yelling at her brother. 

She continued by saying/yelling/demanding, "Be happy, Pato! Be happy, be happy, be HAPPPY!"

Normally, I'd agree with those sentiments. Heaven knows at the end of the day, I just want my kids to feel happy. And I have to admit....when they're happy, things go much more smoothly around here.

But, what kind of parent would I be if I expected my children to be happy ALL the time? I'll tell ya, a very unrealistic one.

Before she goes to bed, S has taken to talking about how she's "sad about (insert any possible thing in here)" to stall for another minute. Sometimes she'll be sad about the moon. Sometimes she'll be sad about her blanket. Sometimes she'll be sad that we just don't think it would be a fun idea to sleep next to her on her floor.

Normally, I find myself telling her why she shouldn't be sad, or try to find a way to immediately fix the problem.

"Don't be sad, Dada will be home soon!"
"If I give you a treat, will that make you not sad anymore?"

I don't plan on discontinuing this altogether (because I think trying to find the positive in things and finding solutions are both very very good things to do), but I do want to try to sometimes let my children be sad. 

What I've been working on lately is telling S that sometimes, it's okay to be be a little sad. It's normal. Some people struggle daily with debilitating sadness. We all could use a little more support and a little more kindness in our lives.

I want to teach my children that life isn't always just about being happy. It's about being happy...and sad. It's about being excited, and also disappointed. They will have moments of joy and moments of heartbreak. I want to stop giving them the message that being sad is not okay or is not tolerated. Instead of putting "bandaids" on things, I want to be able to just sit and hold them when they need it. Talk about why they're sad.

Cause you know what? Sharing toys can be hard! And, no one likes being told it's time to leave when you're having so much fun with friends. Things are sad!

And sometimes you have a leak in your ceiling, no AC in the middle of the Virginia summer, the kids wake up with colds, and your dang garage door won't open as you're trying to leave the house to get to an air conditioned place! All in the same 24-hour timespan. Bah! That would drive anyone to tears! (Or maybe just me?)

And other times you lose someone you love.  Or someone lets you down. Or people get sick. Or...sometimes...you don't know why you're sad, except that you just are.

I want my children to feel on top of the world, but I also hope they will also have moments that will humble them to their knees. Because so much growth comes from opposite ends of the spectrum.

So, what's the main point here?

The main point is this. The world and the people in it have so much value. It is a breathtakingly beautiful place that is full of joy, but also full of mourners. I want my children to truly be able to mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort.

And I pray that others will be there for them, too. 

The art of storytelling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This girl. She's turning into a storyteller. She gets this from both sides of her family.

Although, the actual storytelling-gene somehow skipped me. I can't for the life of me tell a good story. How many details do I add? What should I skip over? And how the heck do I end story? I'm so awkward. These are hard hard things, people. Do not even ask me to tell you what a movie is about. I'd somehow make Harry Potter sound like Jurassic Park. Trust me. 

Anyway. She comes from a long line of storytellers. I have memories of being around her age, and hearing my abuelita stay up late into the night telling stories of her childhood to my aunts. How she would climb trees to spy on her neighbors. And how she'd braid her hair and wear her one flowery dress and sing in the street in front of her home. 

I love my abuelita, but the world's best singer....she is not. Being bad singers also runs through my veins. Sorry, kids. 

When we lived in Utah, my very favorite thing to do was have Sunday dinners at our Granny's house. I loved hearing all her stories. She would tell stories about the places she'd been to (she'd always say that Papa "...showed her the world.") I'd hear about how her mother used to make what she would call "Depression jelly" because they would use all parts of the apple to make it. I'll never forget the way her eyes light up and the way she laughs when she's telling a good story. And I promise....they're allll good. 

Just because I can't tell a good story doesn't mean I don't appreciate one. And these are the things I want to pass down to our children. The stories that are told to us, and hopefully, someday my kids will be able to appreciate my attempt at storytelling on here. 

Lately, S mostly talks to herself and tells stories along the way. I love listening in as she talks about going to the beach or about making new friends or going on a new "benture." (adventure) Just today I heard her playing in the sunroom and pretending that her shovel and rake were her "cousins." (My goodness, sometimes I really really wish we lived closer to family...) 

So, my girl, keep telling your stories. I'm excited to hear them all. 

A plea

Hey, Pato. 

You know that whole 5:30 am wake-up thing you do?

Can you not?



P.s You're cute. 

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