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30 January 2015

Sneak Peek of our new house...

Good news! We found a house! If you are reading my blog everyday (thanks, Mom), then you read the other day that we found a new house.  We are planning to move around Valentine's Day.

It is an Edwardian rowhouse on a really nice street not too far from where we are now. It will be maybe a 15 minute walk to the girls' school. From what a friend told me, the main difference between a Victorian house and and Edwardian house is that the Victorian tends to be narrow and tall and deep, whereas the Edwardian is a little wider, tall, but not as deep.  
This new home has a finished basement (with a wine cellar, be still my heart) and is about 2200 square feet, where the house we live in now is only about 1600 square feet.  It has a very quirky, modern kitchen (pictures to come later). All of the girls will have their own rooms, and I will have a sewing studio (yay!).  And that neat triangular window you see in the picture above is in Olivia's room, she totally loves it!

I will post pictures of the inside once we get unpacked (you know, in a year!) LOL!  

29 January 2015

British houses...

We find construction in these old British houses to be kind of interesting...

This is our downstairs cloakroom (aka half bath)...

There is no venting system, and the window was painted shut decades ago...

Solution... there are holes drilled through the exterior wall of the house. Holes. There is a decorative grill over the inside, but no kidding, they are just holes. Have I mentioned what spider mating season is like in Great Britain? I will save that for another post.

Currently, it is January, and it is cold here. Like last week, it was in the twenties. Can you just imagine how cold that bathroom is when it is in the twenties? Or thirties or forties, for that matter.

Ummm... energy efficiency anyone??

And here is the window seat beneath the front window in our reception room (aka living room)...

On a sunny day, you can actually see the sunlight shining through the missing mortar in the brick wall. The exterior brick wall is all that is under that window seat.  So, in the lame effort to try to insulate from the cold a bit, we bought some insulation and put it in there. It might help a little, but I'm not totally convinced.

And just because I am sure your day wouldn't be complete without seeing a picture of our loo (aka toilet), here is what it looks like - complete with wooden seat.  And the sink, with mixed taps!

28 January 2015

Out for a walk this weekend..

We went out for a walk this weekend, on the streets around our house.  Georgia is working on mastering her new rollerblades, and Sophia and Olivia rode their scooters, while Chris walked Sally. Sally would get very distressed when the girls got too far ahead of her. I actually heard her bark for maybe the third time in her life!

 As we were walking, I spotted this pair of shoes... just sitting neatly together on the pavement (aka sidewalk).  I couldn't help but think of the expression, "walk a mile in their shoes".  Nah. I think I'll pass on these particular shoes.  But, it was an interesting sight.
As our time in our cute little, faux Tudor cottage is growing short, I have mixed feelings.  We have found a new house and it is bigger, an Edwardian style rowhouse.  It will be nice to have a little more room, but it will be sad to leave our little cottage that we have already made memories in...

27 January 2015

A little news from here...

It is a bit hard to believe that we are four weeks into a new school term already, but it is true...

Each term, the girls try out new activities with after school clubs offered by the school.  This term, Olivia is doing running club, Sophia is doing hockey (we call it field hockey in the US), and Georgia is doing Karate.


(That's Georgia - the fourth girl from the left!)

The girls have also started taking gymnastics with a local gymnastics program. So, I busted out my embroidery machine and made some gymnastics totes for them to take to class.  Pardon the puckering on the first one I did for Olivia's buddy, Helena.  It took me a first try to remember - STABILIZER! Those of you who have done machine embroidery are doing a mental head slap at me not remembering that one!!!

I will show them all off when I finish up the last one...  I have to say that the font above may very well be my new favorite because it stitches out so quickly!

We measured the girls this weekend to see how much they have grown.  We used to measure them and make notations on the pantry wall in California, but since we are renting here, we started using our computer cabinet. Sophia and Georgia tied for the most growth in the past 7 months - right about 2 inches each!

23 January 2015

Breakfast with the hubby

Chris spent the early part of this week on a business trip to New York City, so the morning he left, we went out to breakfast before he left for the airport.
We went to one of our favorite local places, the Nightingale Patisserie. It is just down the street from where we live (our soon-to-be-ex-house) and has pretty yummy food.

This is what I typically order... it is called the Healthy N.  It is scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on top, with a side of arugula (called rocket here) topped with a half of an avocado, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes.  

22 January 2015

Lost Socks

One of life's mysteries.  Where do all the lost socks go?

We moved here a year ago. One year. In that year, we have accumulated this many socks that are missing their mates.

I keep them in a bag and then go through and match them up once every week or so.  How do you handle lost socks in the laundry?

21 January 2015

Paddington, The Movie...

This past weekend, we took the girls shopping for new school shoes. Yay. Not.  Their uniform requirement limits their selections to a few brands and styles, and they range from about £41-61.  The first pair we bought them lasted a whole year, so I suppose that isn't too bad.  Georgia came to me a few weeks ago and said that she needed a new pair because her feet were getting wet when she wore her shoes. It turns out, the sole on one shoe was completely flapping around. She had seriously been wearing them that way for some time! We patched them up and then committed to getting her a new pair asap!

Later that day, Olivia went to a friend's birthday party, so we took the other two girls to see the Paddington movie. We had intended to go see it last month, as it opened here in London in mid-December. But, as it turns out, we finally got around to seeing it on what was also the opening weekend for the movie in the U.S.
It was a super cute movie and we all enjoyed it!

20 January 2015

Meet Lady Sally

I posted pictures of our new puppy back in June on Facebook, but I was on my blog hiatus at that point, so I hadn't shared any here.

Sally joined our family in June and we are all head over heels in love with her.  (Don't worry though, Shady is doing fabulously well in her retirement in the mountains of North Carolina. We got to spend quite a bit of time with her at Christmas.)  Sally is an English black labrador.  The only real difference between an English and American black labrador is that the English ones tend to have a blockier face (if that makes sense?).

Not long after we got Sally, she got very, very sick with Parvo.  The Vet told us that most puppies who contract Parvo don't survive. But, Sally recovered, and relatively quickly too, thank goodness!  She came from the breeder with pet insurance that covered the bills too - yay!  Within no time at all, she was back at home with us, and doing really well and quickly growing and making up for lost time. The only reminder that she had Parvo is that she has a small white spot (the fur grew back in white) on her leg where her IV was.

Sally walks beautifully on her leash and has a ton of fun playing in the commons (like a park).  The girls have even taught her how to shake hands!

She stayed with a petsitter over the holidays while we were back in the States. It is a pretty neat way to do it, instead of going to a kennel, she lived with another family while we were away.

This is how she spends much of her day these days... snoozing on the couch. We had good intentions to not let her do that, and then she was just too stinkin' cute, that went out the window after the first few days!  She is kennel trained though, and sleeps there during the night, and is only allowed on the first floor of our home, so we didn't completely cave in every respect!

As you can tell from the picture, she isn't a very big lab. At 9 months old now, we don't think she is completely finished growing, but we suspect she will be on the small side for a lab.

19 January 2015

THE Boat Race

*** I basically abandoned my blog back in May 2014, and as I revived it a few days ago, with a commitment (resolution for the New Year? maybe...) to blog again, I discovered this post that was written but not published. So, here it is!

Several weeks ago now, we watched the Cambridge vs. Oxford boat race.  I had read that "THE" boat race was coming up, so I looked online to find out where we could watch it.  Turns out, pubs and restaurant tables are booked the year before, so that was out.  We could watch from the riverfront, but there would be the fear of taking out kids to an area where EVERYONE would be drunk from drinking and celebrating ALL day in anticipation of the big event.  So, we researched a little further and found the "family friendly" place to watch the boat race is Bishops Park, along the Thames waterfront.  It happens to be directly across from the boathouses and away from the drunken revelers.  A perfect place to watch THE race.
You may wonder why I keep capitalizing THE… well, it is because it is THE race of the year.  And, it happens to be the only collegiate level sporting event that is televised. Say what!?! You heard me… THE race is the only one. period.
It is a boat race (we call it rowing in the US) between Oxford University and Cambridge University, and the first one was held in 1829.  For the next 25 years, the contests took place irregularly, it became a regular event in 1856. You can read more about the history of THE boat race, here. I think it is pretty interesting stuff.
So, we arrived early, to stake out a place to watch the race, have a pint, let the kids play, and eat a bite.

16 January 2015

Back to Blogging...

Well, after a really long (okay, really, really long) break, I am going to attempt to be back to blogging. Or at least be a bit better about blogging more frequently than I certainly have been the last 8 months or so!
What have we been up to?  Well, we still live in London and are doing great. The girls are still at Broomwood Hall and doing splendidly! Chris and I are still doing much the same as well. We have had a few adventures, including a trip to France, a trip to Barcelona, and the girls had an extended visit back in the States during the summer. School started back up with Georgia doing a school trip to France and Olivia moving up to the upper school (year 4-8 are at the upper school, which equates to grades 3 - 7 in the US), and Sophia is at the lower school for one more year.  We squeezed in another visit with our friends in Belgium in October. We all traveled back to the States for the Christmas and New Years holidays. We spent Christmas in North Carolina, and New Years in Maryland, just outside of Washington DC.  We were able to visit our old friends, the Kucabas, in Greenville while we were in the States, and we also got to have an awesome lunch with the Lanes and Walkers while we were in DC.
Three days before Christmas we got the unfortunate news that our landlords intend to sell the home we live in when our lease expires at the end of February. So, the New Year has been filled with house hunting. We hope to find a new place very soon.  Cross your fingers and say a prayer for us, if you will.

We had some terrific family pictures taken in early December by a good friend of ours here - so I will leave you with those today... more blogging to follow!