Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day, to the men in my life

Happy Father's Day!

I'm writing this a day in advance, hoping quite frankly, that I'll be in labor on the real day. If not, I still should be within the next week... bringing yet another generation into this, or rather, these, families-- a granddaughter and daughter to brighten the eyes of the men who are already so dear to me.

To my father, David. The man who kissed my boo-boos, cuddled me to to sleep, taught me to drive, celebrated my 17th birthday with me in Asia, took me skydiving, and picture taking in a tropical storm....

The man who walked me down the aisle on my wedding day...

 ... and helped rescue me when my firth Thanksgiving turkey failed and required fast cutting and a microwave. (Yes, a microwave!)

To my dad, the first man to hold my heart.
Happy Father's Day.

To my father-in-law, Matt. To the man who also celebrates another birthday today. The man who cried as he gave me his son...

...who taught me all about 'sausaging'...

... and what little I know about gardening.

Who taught me how to use a tractor (and lent me the coveralls so I didn't freeze, though he called me a baby for bundling up so!

The man who has adopted into his family with warmth and love, christened me 'my dearest Kathryn', and never stopped.

To my dad-in law, who has become a wonderful part of my life and my family.
Happy Father's Day.

To my husband, Aaron. The man who swept me off my feet, and almost off the road, with that first Harley ride in a tornado, who drove that Harley five hours in 45˚ weather to visit me at school, who cried when he asked me to marry him as well as when he met me at the aisle, who took me on my first beach vacation for our honeymoon....

... and across the world on adventures to Germany, Slovenia....

... Scotland, Portugal, and Paris...,

... who brought to this amazing adventure in London...

... and is about to walk with me on our biggest adventure yet.

To my husband, and the father of my baby girl.
Happy Father's Day.

My life wouldn't be the same without any of you, and I love you all for it.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Beginning a New Adventure

Well, I've not written for a long time, but quite frankly, life has been pretty calm, without much to write about.

I'm quite sure if you're reading this blog, then you know that Baby Prelock is on her way- due any day now. So I've been a bit slower and less adventuresome for the past couple months, but life has still been great- lots of time with friends, and of course, time together while it's just the two of us.

I've found that while the last month of pregnancy is uncomfortable and at times, just plain hard, it's also really lovely. We've been able to see (and play with) our little girl more than ever, and the shared anticipation and joy at her coming arrival makes for some sweet times in our marriage. Even as I tire of the heartburn, bruised ribs, and countless bathroom trips, each ferocious kick, or belly-bending stretch reminds me that these moments are fleeting, and I'll miss them at some point.

I'm posting the pictures of us (and the growing bump) on my Facebook wall, but I couldn't not put any photos on here, so I thought I'd put a shot of baby girl's room.
The walls are a greige, not pinkish, as they look, but that's about it. On the left hand side is a small futon that can still pull out when we have a full house. It's a tight fit, but I'm pretty proud of what we were able to fit in the this little 5'x10' room! Lots of color, and walls filled with children's literarary illustrations, we can't wait to fill it with giggles and memories.

Stay tuned-- she won't be long now. Promise!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Just Normal Life

So life has settled down a bit lately. Our travels have subsided till baby girl makes her appearance in June. But we're still very much enjoying life in London, whilst occasionally venturing outside the city limits. I thought I'd compile a bunch of the random photos that have been filling up my phone lately. 

“It was true, she thought, that the big things awe us but the little things touch us.”

Bess Streeter Alrich,  A White Bird Flying

We spent a morning at the Tate Britain museum, and found this little gem in its galleries. I can't tell you how often college friends, and I mused over this photo and the stories of its time.

A few weeks later, we went down to Brighton for the day with some friends. While I've been in England long enough now to not expect the quaintness of Jane Austen's Brighton, I didn't expect it to be a kind of Jersey Shore of England. I saw more blue/green hair than I've ever seen before. I also didn't see Brighton beach. The mist from the sea floated inland about 10 minutes and stayed all day. It was bright and sunny farther in, and back in London, but not on the beach. We briefly saw the outline of the pier, and saw the waves along the shore 20 feet out from the pebbles. That's it.
But I have now been to Brighton. :-)

The other week, I opened my curtains one sunny morning to this stunning view, and it's reminder that yes, I do live in one of the biggest, and busiest cities in the world.

A bit of excitement in our routine was the chance to go to a rugby match! We saw the Saracens vs Harlequins (for those of you that know rugby), and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was similar enough to American football that I could appreciate the basics, though I know I didn't get it all. And I enjoyed it MUCH more than the football (soccer) matches we've been to. Way more chilled and fun!

But I was amazed at the crowds going into Wembley Stadium. Apparently there were about 70,000 fans-- a record for the Rugby league. It was crazy!
And then we left the stadium afterwards and hightailed it for the tube, trying to beat the rush. The crowd going in had nothing on the crowd leaving after.
Here's a small perspective from the stairs going into the tube...

and if you can see it.... the path on the other side of the bridge is completely packed with people. About 30-40 people across... for half a mile. Just crazy!!!

But spring is on the rise, and with it, London is showing off its flowery side! I love it!
I actually found this amazing tree (tree? massive bush?) last summer, but forgot about posting it. Two stories of wisteria! And the property was for sale. I wanted to buy it on the spot!

In March, all the crocuses burst out, defying the cool temps with their bright colour!

And these beauties have popped up in the park near us! I love spring, and was so happy to find London's parks full of it, not just cement and concrete!

So thanks for stopping by and sharing some of our little moments. We're enjoying them, and I hope you are too!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Living the Life

So, usually our life here in London is pretty 'normal'. For reals. Yes, its London, but our average week looks a lot like it did when we lived in middle Indiana. We clean, cook, go grocery shopping, have church friends over, get Chinese take-away and a film for a special date night-- yep, we're pretty crazy people.

Then there are those seasons when life is anything but 'normal', and I almost have to slap myself silly! The last two months have been one of those seasons. Its no indication of any great achievement on our part, nor is it full of the things really most important in life, but the last 6-8 weeks have brought a whirlwind of 'slap me silly' events.
1. I was able to go with two girlfriends for a 'day out' in Paris. A one night stay in an Airbnb flat, amazing French cuisine, pastries and tarts at Angeline, window shopping through Le Marais ... it was such a fun frivolous adventure- and I loved it! I only came back with a vintage 'granny' sweater, and some sweets for the hubs, but it was still just incredible!
2. Aaron and I were given tickets to see Ian McDianmid play Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. I really only knew him as the emperor (Senator Palpatine) in Star Wars, and am ashamed to admit in a handful of lines, that's all I saw, and expected him to finish his lines with "my young apprentice." But it was really amazing to be able to see it at The Almeida Theatre.
3. Stellen Skarsgard (Avengers, Mama Mia, Pirates of the Caribbean, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) filmed for several days just outside of our flat. Apparently (according to the notice we were given, explaining the hubbub and traffic disruptions), he'll play a conflicted detective in (yet another) crime drama miniseries called River. *Note: this is just the facts, not a public endorsement of any said dramas.*  (By the way, did you know that famous actors get their own 'coat valet', who stand just off camera with a parka in January, to cover him up in between takes?)

Like I said- nothing earth shaking, or of eternal consequence, but fun to think about in that silly, trivial sense. I look at where we are and think, "Really? That's happening, to me, right here?" It's so fun!

And then, to top it off, my hubby took me for a quick getaway/birthday gift/babymoon to Portugal! A friend's parents live in Cascais, about 40 min outside Lisbon, and were such amazing gracious hosts! A lovely couple who have lived in half a dozen countries over several decades, they were full of amazing stories and tales as they drove us around the countryside, sharing with us a peek of their life. It was amazing!

On the flight there, we flew over some amazing mountains! (Iberian, Pyrenees?)

Arriving in Lisbon, we landed in rain, but the clouds parted just in time for sunset! And we were able to spend another day just walking around, seeing a bit of the city. Lisbon is gorgeous-- reminding me so much of San Francisco. From it's bridge (looking just like the Golden Gate) to it's hilly streets lined with colourful homes... it was so charming and so fun to share with the hubs, who's never been to California!

We stopped in at the Livraria Bertrand.... arguably the oldest bookstore in the world!

We drove out to Cabo da Roca, the most western point in Continental Europe, which was really fun for the hubby, as he's been to the eastern edge of the continent in Romania and Moldova.

We saw the Boca da Inferno....

And we spent quite a bit of time just wandering the beaches and streets of Cascais. It's a tiny little town relying heavily on tourism, but it was just lovely and we enjoyed all of the time we could get there!

Friends recommended the Jeronimos Monastery... built right around 1500 AD. It was a lovely exhibit of Portuguese architecture.

We loved our time in Portugal, and hope we can return again someday. The people were charming, our hosts were wonderful, and we are longing for those sandy beaches already!

So I look at what 2015 has already held... art, theatre, culture, frivolity.... it's been an amazing couple months already. Maybe it's been especially fun as everyone keeps telling us "Enjoy it now, because once the baby comes, life will never be the same." And I think I get that. We are so blessed to be enjoying this phase of life, with its dull normal weeks, and it's weeks of crazy romantic travels and celebrity sightings. We are so blessed to be where we are today, and I don't want to miss a moment. 

But I am so looking forward to this summer, when we get to meet our little girl, to having family visit, and watching our parents turn into grandparents, to establishing new routines as a family, to growing with my husband as parents. Life's seasons are ever changing, and I'm loving the one we are in now, and excited about the next!

Thanks for joining us on our journey. I hope you're enjoying it as much as we are!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

English Miscellany (with Danielle)

Once again, I'm looking through old photos I've taken and trying to get caught up on my picture posting. So today has less of a theme- but does include quite a few shots from the time when my friend, Danielle, came to visit in October! But it's mostly a hodgepodge collection. I kind of like it- quirks and oddities in our daily lives!

Lets see what we have...

For starters: the hubs and I discovered this awesome little car... parked on the sidewalk... right in front of a sign that says "No Parking". Oh, I love London!

And on a walk, I looked down a side alley to see this. Where else in the world will you see a random piece of artwork larger than a car (ok, a SmartCar, not a real car) hanging on a building above a dumpster?!

Oh yeah-- does anyone remember this beauty? On Facebook, I posted this article that boasted the 'world smallest home' selling for £275,000 (that's about $420,000) in Barnsbury, about a 10 min walk from our place. It looks better in their pictures. And I cannot believe the price of real estate around here!

Change of pace: I LOVE this view! It's  on a bridge in the middle of St. James' Park, between Buckingham Palace and Victoria Embankment. You can see the London Eye on the right, and a gorgeous palace-type place, that is apparently, the Royal Horseguards Hotel.

Buckingham Palace... and the flag is up, which means the Queen was in residence in that day!

Another of our favourite nights out... walking from the Southbank, through Borough Market, along to the Globe Theatre, and across Millennium Bridge to this spot in front of St. Pauls!

The view from The Millennium Bridge towards London Bridge and the Shard.

And the view from the Southbank (on an evening we happened to be attending Julius Caesar at the Globe!)

All right... back to a bit of reality. Here in England, we have Primark- the clothing equivalent of Walmart. Hence, a wall full of adult footie pajamas. Seriously, people?! Do you wear these?

Oh yeah- a bit of a theme to some of these pics! I realised I haven't posted many pictures from Danielle's visit. Danielle came in October to squeeze in a bit of a girls trip before wedding the love of her life just a few weeks ago! They're now settled in marital bliss, but I get to remember her 'back when' she was just a fiancee roaming the streets of England!

We took a couple day trips: the first to Oxford. I posted previously about The Eagle and Child (and the Inklings who met there), as it was the highlight of our day, but the rest of the town is worthy of sharing too!
The Radliffe Camera (camera meaning 'room' in latin).

I love all the winding passages one finds throughout Oxford.

And kind of cringe at seeing banks and coffee shops in such amazing old buildings! (Though this could theoretically just be a reconstruction to look old!)

I want one of these!

And this spot signifies the place where Ridley, Latimer, (Oct. 16 1555) and later Cranmer were burned at the stake for opposing Catholicism. It is here Latimer spoke the famous words of encouragement: "Be of good cheer, Ridley; and play the man. We shall this day, by God's grace, light up such a candle in England, as I trust, will never be put out."

On another day, Danielle and I took a bus journey out to Bath (pronouced with a long ah... or so I've been told!)
The Bath Cathedral.

The Royal Crescent... famous for its groundbreaking curved architecture. (I tried to make it panorama, but couldn't get it to work, so you get two pictures.)

The Weir under Putney Bridge

I loved these sweet rooftops sticking out through the trees. And, if you look closely, up in the hills, you can see bits of the mansion at the Prior Park Landscape Gardens.

The first half of our day was grey and dreary, but the clouds parted just in time for sunset, and we realised that the Bath limestone was made for the golden hour.

Sally Lunn's... which is famous for... wait for it.... its bunns. Considered the oldest house in Bath, it dates back to 1482, though Miss Sally Lunn, a French Huguenot baker, didn't take up residence until the 1600s, when she brought with her a recipe for these large buns.. half bread, half cake, usually cut in half- but eaten in a variety of ways- for savoury sandwiches, to a morning toast, to cinnamon-sweet!

Just to give you some perspective on how old that is: this is artwork taken from the late 1400s.

And being French in the 1600s, Sally may have worn something like this:

Or this:

When I walk these streets, I lose perspective on how much history has happened here. How many shoes, sandals, bare feet have walked the same streets? What peasants, tinkers, merchants, servants wandered the same alleys? What careers have been built and lost? What families have been grown in times of piece and scattered in times of war? What swords have swung and bombs have dropped? Ultimately, what lives have lived here? What souls walked this path? And how many died knowing Christ?

I love how small I feel in the history of England. I love how small I feel in modern England- with its mix of slow country life and the urban multi-cultural worlds (plural) of London. When I take the time from my errands and photo shoots, it really is amazing, and I'm so grateful to be here to experience it!