UA-48009635-1 UA-48009635-1

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Most Beautiful Place On Earth

We've just returned from what's been called that very thing. We'd wholeheartedly agree. Where else would the sun beam through clouds like this for the entire day?

Our house is filled with a predisposition to like the Irish (my being baptised at the "Touchdown Jesus" parish in South Bend doesn't hurt, either). Baby Sister's namesakes tie us there and the girls Irish dance to most every pop song at the drop of a hat. Still, our trip to Ireland far exceeded our expectations.

Not exactly sure why we left. Something about school and work. Blah Blah Blah. But we're already plotting our return to the Dingle Peninsula. Absolutely wonderful. We'll have to keep replaying these images Monday morning when we're doing the school run on a red bus in uniforms.

No sooner had we explained to Baby Sister that we'd not moved to Ireland -- "You said we'd get more bunk beds!" (It really must be so confusing to be three. And also six because I'd be rich if I had one pound for every time Big Sister asked, "Where are we going now?" I promise you, we had everyone fully on board with the program before and through the trip but still...) -- it seemed it was time to return home. If I ever get the resulting laundry pile smaller than Mount Brandon (see, I read all the guidebooks!) I'll send you more pictures and tell a few tales of the trip.

It was surely an adventure from start to finish. We arrived in an incomparable darkness and howling winds likely only found in that western most tip of Europe -- what's also been called the "end of the earth." As soon as I opened my car door, our entire stack of important papers (to include 6 boarding passes for the return flight) whipped off my lap and shot into the night sky like fireworks. The next morning we found 5 of the boarding passes stuck all around the neighboring sheeps' fence line. All but mine. So I was mighty tempted to stay on for a bit.

We had a 13 passenger van and the 4 kids mostly rode in the way, way back together. They might not have noticed I wasn't 3 rows in front of them for a while. At least until they were ready for another banana to be slung at them.

But I would have missed the small people, this guy and London, too. To ease the departure, the Mister and I felt obligated to try more local offerings. Just doing our part.

So, a big thanks to Ireland for a gracious welcome and a homecoming of sorts. We'll keep the wind at our back until we can return.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Love, Cont.

We're having a (tennis!) ball of a time going to and fro during this half-term break. We're enjoying lots of great company and places to visit here and further afield.

Sunday we went to what is now one of my top recommendations when you're in London: The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. (Note: the posting about the Wimbledon Table Tennis Museum will be at a later date.) Other than envy of my tennis-playing girlfriends' adorableness in their gear and the major stars of the sport, I knew really nothing about tennis before walking through the gates.

But it will capture you and dare I say it, bring more than a few tears to your eyes to (almost) walk out to Centre Court and to be part of a dramatic build-up (via a 3D movie!  My favorite and not just because it is a hoot to see Baby Sister parade around in the glasses for the rest of the day! "I'm gonna sweep in these!") of the behind the scenes preparations for the Men's 2012 Championship.

Starting with the kids ordering crumpets for lunch, it was a wonderfully interesting, educational, interactive, exciting and touching day. Museums these days are nothing, nothing, nothing at all like the staid life size dioramas of dusty cavemen and taxidermied animals my generation was raised on. To curators the world over who make museums so amazing for my family and me, I raise a flute of champagne and dish of strawberries and cream to you.

And speaking of those delicious treats, you can be sure I'm now fully inspired to host a Wimbledon-themed party this summer. So let the chilly breeze whip through London again because my mind is on tennis whites, cool drinks and better favors. You're invited!

We all had to attempt our faux tennis swings. Can you tell I think the Mister is sooo funny?!  And Big Sister clearly is a mean competitor. The rest of us are swinging imaginary baseball (maybe rounders?) bats or golf clubs...

The museum is an easy Tube and bus ride from our place and a must do when you're in town next. Meanwhile, enjoy the shots of us enjoying it all. And then take a moment to ponder Rudyard Kipling's "If" which adorns the players' entrance to Centre Court.

A great day out learning about history, technology, traditions and tennis. And love! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Whole Lotta Love Here

Hi, friends!  There's so much love going on here and it has kept me from you!  Apologies and pink hearts just in time for Valentine's. All the way from a city where it isn't heralded with much fanfare. Or notice. S'alright. I'll be decked out in a heart "jumper" and apron (thanks, Aunt Robin!) by breakfast. The kids will find red arrows on the floor pointing them to these festivities. I am very sure we've helped our pig find its raison d'ĂȘtre. Thanks to everyone who sent us such sweet Valentine's.

More news about love: the Mister (and his voluminous hair) turned 40 last week.  Hooray! His big gift was a film we'd made in secret. One of the kids' teachers is an actual filmmaker and he interviewed the smalls about our lovey. I will figure out how to show it to you somehow. Consider this a verbal trailer for an upcoming feature.

This is an action shot taken on family night. Even in a candid taken by a small at a bowling alley, He's So Handsome! All this and check out his bowling moves. Even still, Baby Sister had us all beat until the last frame. I think it was her technique of a running start.

Note the the Mister: If you ever start a blog, I'd be grateful it doesn't include photos of my backside. 

To celebrate his big birthday, we went to dinner high above London and then afterwards even higher to the Shard. Photos to follow when I figure out how to download them from another of the Mister's birthday presents. Which, you should know, in a supreme act of giving, required me to go to the Apple store. Ugh. Thank goodness Big Brother was able to do all the talking. I was busy rolling my eyes over the salesperson pointing me in the direction of the person "hosting this section." Probably only fair that given it was the Mister's big day and I was treated to a date with my sweetheart, great wine, yummy dinner and a priceless treasure of a movie of our children (whew!) that I sacrificed a bit of my soul to appear at the Apple store.

Speaking of souls, we celebrated our second Pancake Day and are walking slowly into Lent. Which is to say that we indeed ate lots of pancakes served up in the school hall yesterday and began our Lenten plans but maybe not yet started in earnest. This year, I'm going to say a daily rosary. Today we received ashes at our church with all of Our Sweet School. It is these times with dear friends that make me completely ignore the fact that we'll not be Londoners next Ash Wednesday.

Birthday, bowling, hearts and flowers. More soon and meanwhile, much love from London,