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Monday, September 15, 2014

Rooting for History

Or should that be roses for the Roosevelts?

Everyone seems to be immersed in the Roosevelts these days. Us, too. Last night we were all camped out in front of the tv watching Ken Burns begin to unfurl American history through the Roosevelts and we'll be there all week.

The stories and pictures of Theodore Roosevelt's early life were made even more special because we toured his childhood home in NYC this spring. That was the Mister's idea. Hearing narrators echo what the kids already knew and seeing the home just as they'd left it a few months ago was fantastic. 

I must get out a gaggle of teddy bears for our next viewing party. Particularly since our house is so light on taxidermy. But a teddy bear trophy room? We could absolutely pull that one off.

Glued to the tube, albeit for good purposes, wasn't family night, though. We celebrated that a few hours earlier by going to the movies (about an annual event for our crew) to learn a bit about sea life thanks to Big Sister's latest interest. 

Quite possibly the most entertaining part of going to the cinema with our brood is seeing what Baby Sister wears. I'm so sorry I didn't get pictures. Like her mother (who packed comfy socks and a light blanket), she likes to get really cozy to see a flick. So we weren't too surprised to look over during the previews and see Baby Sister getting into her pink fuzzy bathrobe and slippers. ha!

It takes a lot of brain power to learn. Might as well be comfortable doing it, right? And that little lovey is her Kindergarten's "Special Person of the Week." Special indeed!

What could be more special than Roosevelt himself on the value of life in a busy household: "For unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison."

Hooray. And three cheers for things going "reasonably well" -- I love it.  xo

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Too Much Fun

You must come see some of the best and most delightful offerings in Nashville's home decor market.

I may have told you -- Gas Lamp was and continues to be our very favorite place to shop in Nashville. We had it programmed into the GPS while we were still in the hotel awaiting shipments to be released from Customs. Now I arrive there by the sheer magnetic force of beautiful treasures.

Yesterday I worked at the shop's Fall Fiesta. If you can call working chatting with some of the area's best designers among gorgeous homewares and vintage goodies. The party there continues everyday. It is such fun to see autumn come to the Gas Lamps. Apples and pumpkins abound. 

Check it out soon and often. Hurry to Gas Lamp Too and look for my space at T164. 128 Powell Avenue in Nashville. 615.297.2250. If you're like me, you'll need lots of time to meander the 25,000 square feet (seriously bountiful) of goodness. Bring a friend and be ready to be wowed.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to School on the High Street

I'm thinking much of those who are starting school this week on both sides of the Atlantic. Especially Big Brother's British school friends who are starting their last year at Our Sweet School.

Even though we've been hitting the books for what seems like forever, it is just now back to school on my little High Street at GasLampToo. All decked out for learning in style here. The shop is like an extension of my favorite parts of our home - I love it!

We're all ready for fall with lots of plaid, vintage safety patrol gear, varsity letter, maps, apples, school supplies. All sorts of treasures to engage students young and old. And an alligator and pig, too. Every study hall needs a loyal pet.

For all the learning and on the job training for my shop, I'm the happiest school girl of late. It is delightful. Last week found me at the Nashville Flea Market at the fairgrounds. You must go if you get a chance. Flea marketing is part spatial relations lessons (how will I get all those goodies in the car?) and always, economics. Learning all the time. I'm telling you, this is a super job. The field trips alone are fantastic.

And with apologies for these poor pix (I promise I wasn't trying some vintage filter!), check out these two vintage treasures. They're from another shopping spree altogether. The next time we get over to this house I'll get better snaps to share. Meanwhile, fingers crossed these will someday be part of our new kitchen. 

New beginnings in the midst of old treasures. A good report from your (school) girl Friday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to It All

Bless their hearts. We've been dressed and on time and back to it all. School's in full swing with homework and the whole nine. They gleefully report sibling sightings at the dinner table and the Mister and I are tickled to hear those usually result in hugging! I'm hoping to decamp to the pool all weekend to celebrate.

More likely we'll split our time between the pool, a seemingly endless review of MLS listings and open houses.  We're in the throes of house hunting. Did I tell you that our oddly timed lease (we're out of the house in February) means we need new digs soon? Don't worry - we're planning for some sort of guest space when purchasing in Music City. And I'm still gunning for an all kids' bunk room to make use of any spare family space we can. You heard it here first! We gave ourselves the summer off from house hunting and are now in the thick of it.

Kind of like naming babies with a full belly, house hunting is really only terrifically fun when the pressure is off. But I'm grateful that the Mister and I have always been on the same page in our many homes (7 at last count!) in our 15 years. We've always come to a decision unanimously. So there's that.

Varied housing styles (townhouse, apartments, construction new and old and a beloved American Four Square) throughout the years have taught us about what we value in our space. Altho we're not campers, I feel sure that we could pretty much get by with a hot pot (speaks to my culinary skills, too) and a few rollaway beds. And surely we only need one full bath as that's all we seem to use (with maybe a spare for guests). The year we don't have baby toys or Johnson's baby wash in our shower will likely be when Baby Sister has flown the nest. Until then, we tend to happily live on top of each other, no matter how big the house.

Outdoor space matters now, too. Even though we absolutely loved our flat in London and some of us long to be city folk again, in Nashville we've found that we adore wide open spaces. (Cue the Dixie Chicks.) I remember crying a bit on a trip to Scotland being struck by how much the kids loved (and needed) to just open the door and run outside.

This is our first time looking for a home while living in the same town. While house hunting is something that happens to us every other year or so, that's new. It is a great luxury to be able to see a listing pop up and drive by a few minutes later. Even if it means the peanut gallery chimes in from the backseat about what they "would even consider!" Never before have the kids had a chance to see the places we're considering in person.

Which also means that they're learning some of the heartache that comes with house hunting. Just this week, Biggest Brother and I got way out in front of a love affair with a property with a small house and very big yard (he was creating mountain bike trails and I was decorating for Christmas). But we've bought a house that came and went three times before it was ours, and I'm trying to impart to them the confidence that the right place will be obvious when it is right for us.

As a testament to his goodness, while I was licking my wounds and replaying a kazillion "what ifs" about the house that I felt sure should have been, at bedtime prayers last night, Biggest Brother prayed for the people who got that house. Bless that guy's heart. I should be so loving and kind.

In summary, we're back to it all. Even house hunting.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Last Bits of Summer

We're kicking up our boots and making a splash. Even tho the reality of uniforms and actual bedtimes has set in, we're still getting to the pool and treating ourselves however we can. The last of our summer houseguests have departed and we're back to school. What a wonderful summer it was. Or has been. We're easing into school days gradually. If the pool is still open, summer can't really be over, right? 

A tiny bit of denial can be your friend. So can a chic crossing guard. 

We're so grateful for all the company we received this summer. AND for not being new this fall. I have forgotten how delightful it is to be in the second year of a posting. When things are fresh, new and exciting but when you've traded fear for familiarity. When you have a healthy list of favorite people and things to do. When homesickness for the last place has eased. Less crying in public and more feeling normal. Feeling welcome and at home.

The above is just a glimpse into our first week and doesn't count as the official back to school photo without Big Sister. Bless her heart - she was so eager to get to her class that I didn't want to delay her a moment.  I did snap her on the stairs before we left the house. Check out her M&S Mary Janes (and super long legs)! I am tickled that my little American school girls requested a bit of London as part of their school gear (and that M&S ships free to the US). Also, bless her heart - Big Sister started at the orthodontist this summer. Here's to Number 3 doing something first!   

So far so good on our second year in Nashville. We're graduating to new stages so happily and together.

We loved sharing Nashville with friends and family this summer. Exploring, showing off our favorites and discovering even more things to do, see, eat and learn in Music City with company was a highlight of the time off. We'll continue exploring all fall.

Meanwhile, tho the pool still beckons.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Little Business. A Big Day

Big day of hard work yesterday. A team effort. We painted, cleaned, inventoried, priced and moved into the shop at GasLamp Too!

It is the culmination of a lot of work as well as the sudden realization of a dream. A happy day. Grateful for my extraordinary painters, movers, in-house cheerleaders and babysitter that made it all possible.

And what nice timing. Fall has always felt like the beginning of the year to me. Even in the years between being a school girl and having school children.

A new year. A big day! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Decade of Buddy

There's so much to say and not nearly enough time. The kids start school early August and then I suspect there will be way too much time and you'll quickly tire of me.

But meanwhile, our Buddy has turned 10 and I've not told you all about it. He and Biggest Brother have been gone all week visiting cousins and we're so excited to see them.

So I promise to send a newsy late summer update about our crew soon but until then, I want to celebrate our Number Two Son.  I suspect he's grown up a ton this week. Heaven knows it has been a big year: British school boy. American school boy. Cross Country runner. Broken clavicle. Star Wars and LEGO aficionado. Keen reader and straight A student. Our best snuggler and most cuddly. Champion of the Freckle Team.

He is a real sweetheart and our true buddy. Happy first decade and much love.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beach Babies.

Sun. Sand. Rinse and Repeat. The best bits of summer are spent like this. Of all the places we've called home, we always feel most right near the water. Content with beach hair and bare feet.

These pix really highlight the breakdown of our Freckle Team v. Non Freckle Team, don't they? Would you believe yesterday the Non Freckle Team showed up en masse on the beach in coordinating aqua swimsuits? They say they didn't plan it, but I feel sure it was a challenge of sorts to us. We'll have to up our game.