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Friday, May 31, 2013

On Top Of the World

From the dizzying heights of Erice, it sure seems like we're on top of the world. Looks like it, too.

Having a great time. Sunbathing on San Vito lo Capo, eating cannoli, seeking souvenirs, strolling the beaches for sea glass.

And the sun is still shining so we're off again shortly to explore and enjoy it more. 

Beach babies.

Enjoying exceedingly long and late dinners while the kids play on the beach.

Sweeter than all the marzipan we can get through Customs.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Presso Il Porto Turistico

Lots of playing on the beach and touring the marinas. We're so relaxed and have forgotten any sort of schedule. 

Playing in the Golfo de Castellammare.

The Mister made a lovely dinner.

After dinner, I chatted with the chef while the kids snuggled on a swing investigating villa wildlife. 

These four little heads in a row and all the associated piggies were part of our pretty view. Our after dinner conversation was about how fortunate we are and how much we've enjoyed our European experience. About how we couldn't have imagined it all (and all of them) not that terribly long ago.

We went to Castellamarre in search of gelato. The harbor views in the shadow of the mountains were spectacular.

Three cheers for the chef and driver of adventurous European routes, too!

A marina-side meeting of the non-freckle team. Baby Sister sporting her Sicily souvenir - handknit owl purse.

We watched the night fall over Castellammare from the hilltop. A great ending to a wonderful day. Not how I think we'll spend next Memorial Day. Soaking it all up. Every. Single. Bit!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ciao Bella!

Summertime and the livin' is easy!  We're on our third Italian adventure.

Waking up to this is a guaranteed good start. See that chair on the far left? That's where I had my coffee while reading the villa guidebook in my nightgown. Let's break that down: Coffee. Reading. Pajamas. Sunshine. That is one ideal morning.

Note, too it didn't include school uniforms, a city bus or sherpa-like dragging of various small people gear. I call to your attention the absence of scooters, guitars, rucksacks, PE kits and the (I'm not making this up) 6 Nursery "Traditional Tales" assembly costumes I carted around last week. Not kidding. Two bear, 1 knight, 2 dragon, 1 princess. Which reminds me, I have to tell you later about Baby Sister being all 3 of the Three Bears, but eegads - even thinking about last week is making me do some Lamaze breathing at the computer, so let's table that for another day.

Beach, pool, wine, cheese, olives, villa exploration, reading. Rinse, repeat. Just one day into the trip, and I'm certain I could get used to the Sicilian lifestyle.

We're a bit like those old commercials for Florida tourism: "We need it BAD!" London has endured historic chills all "spring" and we were in proper coats this week. In the rain. Also the kids will start school in Nashville about 20 minutes after they finish their British school year (actually about 3 weeks, but with jet lag, boxes, buying two cars, and learning to understand Southern and all, it will surely seem like less).

I suppose what I'm saying is don't hate me because we're off on another fantastic trip. We still have a whole half term of school ahead of us, are having daily conversations about what exactly will be moved when, thinking of planning goodbye parties and trying desperately to cling onto normal life as Londoners, too. 

Aside from jetting across the Atlantic in August with heavy hearts and nervous anticipation of what's ahead, this is our big summer trip. So we're going to soak it up. Namely the sun. And ensure won't return to the States with rickets if we can help it, too.

And I still owe you a report from our US trip. Meanwhile, I should say we saw our new house and school and the girls were treated like tiny queens in Virginia. If we have to leave London (and I've checked and double checked. We do.) things in Nashville are sure lining up nicely. So all's well. 

Just wanted you to now that we're here and enjoying it and each other. More soon and much love from where we're having a brilliant time.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Even Smaller Smalls

These are the tiny people we moved to London:

And these are my smalls getting ready for their last summer as Londoners.

Where does the time go, friends?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Au Revoir Normandie

We'll soon be packing our bags for more trips and it wasn't that long ago that we were traipsing around Normandy. I'll have to fill you in more later but the photos alone tell a story. It was a wonderful getaway.

Cab to Victoria, train to Dover, then ferry from Dover to Calais, and in between lots of hopping on and off shuttle buses at Dover! Our transportation lovers' dream trip already. 

White cliffs of Dover.

Stayed in a lovely 250-year old farmhouse in a tiny village outside of Vire that served as a hospital during WWII. A great spot for day trips. The trip was timed perfectly to Biggest Brother's study of the war for Year 6. We read a good historical fiction for children about the war last year and brought two non-fictions with us as a guide during the trip. It was invaluable to see this part of the world while recounting the history together.

Keen to keep our bodies as nourished as our minds, we toured the museum in Camembert. You know I love a good museum and one with films included? And all about cheese?!  It is a wonder I'm not still there.

A bright and sunny Easter Sunday at Mont Saint-Michel. We'll surely be talking of it next Easter. 

Big Brother's favorite touring pastime is finding "secret passages" tucked into narrow, winding streets.

And in a very poignant part of our lesson about WWII, we toured the DDay beaches, Pont du Hoc and the American Cemetery in Colleville. Big Sister asked amazing questions and in such a tiny voice. 

Really wonderful museums along the beaches. 

Last day was touring beaches of Deauville, Trouville and Honfleur.

Big Sister wasn't so sure about getting sandy out of season! The seasons are changing here a bit too quickly for me. The clock and calendar pages are surely zooming. I fear all too soon I'll find us packing boxes. But in the meantime, we have a few more adventures planned. 

And sometimes the best bits aren't planned at all. We were gone over April Fool's Day and in the car for long stretches on this trip. Big Brothers spent an inordinate amount of time creating a very realistic faux text message purportedly from the ferry service customer service department announcing a delay in our return trip and forwarded it to the Mister's isomethingorother. It was fantastic. Perfectly executed by my smalls. They are funny!

Maybe I'll start crafting something similar. Perhaps a note from the Home Office requesting us to stay on the the UK for a bit longer!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Grabbing the Reins

I'm keeping a mental list of "what I'll miss" about London. It is such a lengthy treatise that I'm surely squeezing out (admittedly already limited) space for learning a foreign language and helping with homework. So I'll have to bore you with it in its entirety soon.  Meanwhile, though one of the things I'll miss about London is the horses.

Yes, I hear you. I suspect there are a few horsies in Nashville, but I'm not thinking about that yet (until next week when we're touring our new environs for a few days!).

It came as a delightful surprise to be surrounded by equine life in a major city. We have the great fortune of being across the park from the horse ring and trail, seeing the Household Calvary in formation many mornings and random fancy carriages trotting about. Then there are mounted police.

The horses have never become routine and we're always shouting "HORSES!" when we see them in any sort of procession -- urging each other to the windows to catch a glimpse. I love to see the ponies from Hyde Park Stables crossing Bayswater Road. Doing so on foot can cause my heart to quicken, so I'm in awe of riders who stride across 4 lanes of traffic on horseback.

And Biggest Brother's Year 6 PE has included learning to ride. Didn't see that coming either.

Stay tuned for The List. It is going to be awful. Blubbery, weepy, hideously sentimental. I'm going to miss the throaty rumble of cabs, the keening of bus brakes, cheese. Oh how I will miss the cheese and the glorious wonders of European dairy. I will miss it all. Full stop.

The re-entry begins, friends.