Although I'm interacting with Richard most days on email or Skype, it's been since late 2009 that I've been able to sit down with him, and the same period since we last saw his family. We missed seeing Isaac, but we enjoyed having lunch and a good chat with Chisa, Bethany and Esther.
Where will we meet next time? Japan? England? America?
... but it was wonderful seeing old University friends Kathryn (Seager) Hitchings, her hubby, Mike, and kiddos, Eleanor, Connie and Reuben.
No yarn-bombing occurred, and the crocodile suit never made an appearance, but great fun was have by all. Joel even got to play indoor cricket with Mike.
Thank you for a great visit.
There's a four-mile loop that will take you down to Temple Lock, along the Thames and then up through the Marlow town center back to grandma and grandpa's house.
I don't think the boys would have made it if they hadn't had their scooters with them, or if the gate had broken and they had been engulfed in inquisitive cows, but in the end it was a great adventure involving narrow boats, sheep and other staples of English country scenery.
Grandpa introduced Matthew and Joel to village life with a visit to the Village of Turville. Look closely at these photos, and you may well recognize the setting for the Vicar of Dibley, as well as the windmill from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The boys have enjoyed the classic views of Marlow, with the special addition of being able to visit a swan on her eggs.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's taken us almost 7 years, but we're back. If you can't remember what we looked like back then ("Way, way back many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began ... " -- name that musical), then take a look at posts from August 2006, like this one.
The more eagle-eyed and quick-of-brain among you will notice the absence of Joel from the photos of our previous visit, and then realize that this is Joel's first time in his Fatherland. Not that Matthew remembers much from when he was last here, but at least he has the pictures of him in situ to prove that he was.
Having been enjoying summer in Florida since February, we were surprised to find that it is Spring in England. On the one hand, that means obligatory showers and blustery winds, but on the other it was a pleasant surprise to find that the trees (and other green life forms) were flowering, so we have been able to enjoy the hanami we had missed this year in Seattle and Japan.
Without further ado, I give you the first pictures of some surprisingly fresh-faced looking individuals who had just arrived on a plane having had very little sleep.
Matthew, looking through some London brochures: "MOM! The EDF Energy London Eye accepts Mastercard!"
We love you and your sparkly, twinkly eyes and spirit and personality. What a blessing to be in a family with you, special bean!
I recently finished a book entitled Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life, by Gretchen Rubin (also the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project).
I gained a few overall creative ideas for making our home a homier place, but really, I just enjoyed her research and her writing style...
"Although the people in it are its most important elements, home is also a place of return, the physical hub of my schedule--and of my imagination. In my mind, the entire globe revolves around a single spot, where a bright red 'You Are Here' arrow hovers undetected above our roof. When Jamie and I moved from our old apartment just ten blocks south to where we live now, I remember how all of New York City seemed to wobble and reorient itself, just slightly, to put us back at the very center."
"Hey, Mom, look at that guy!"
The uber-trendy dude riding by on his bicycle was covered with tats, a
black beard, skinny jeans, and a long chain hanging from his pocket. I
guessed that the kids would mention the artwork all over his arms, but I
"He's not wearing a helmet!"
Joel, perspiring after running around Lake Como: "I'm sweatering!"
Matthew: "I want to be an eight-year-old when I grow up!"
Found these in the photo files and had to share! So many things we miss about our neighborhood of Greenwood in Seattle...
Avery, our friend who sells Real Change...
And we never did find out who left this sidewalk-chalk message on our front steps...
If I had more time, I'd start a blog by that name, but I've made up my mind to come up with twelve things every day that I'm thankful for.
So without further ado, here's today's list:
1. A parenting group we're headed to tonight--it's so nice to encourage and be encouraged in one of life's most exciting, joyful, and stressful arenas.
2. Red woven poppies on my wall.
3. A serene, still, mirrored lake.
4. The Holy Spirit's guidance in all things.
5. Library books.
6. Hot tea--yes, even in Florida's temperatures.
7. Art projects gracing our house.
10. Potable water.
11. Reading James and the Giant Peach with our beans.