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Monday, September 30, 2013

The Best Gift

Apparently we don't hand the kids the camera often enough because I had to go back to our Sicily trip to find this picture of the Mister and me. Actually, the kids manhandle the camera plenty (this is also why we seem to replace digital cameras about every other year...) but those often result in goofy self portraits. In going through pictures, I did find more than a few surprise videos taken by the kids. Those are really priceless. Also good fodder for their senior class slideshows.

Anyhow, last week was our 14th wedding anniversary. We typically celebrate by exchanging clever takes on the traditional gifts for each year (and an Indian dinner). I am usually quite proud of how creative I have been until the Mister manages to trump me with a new spin on paper, bronze, iron or whatever material has come to symbolize the passing year.

I used this year's theme of ivory as a great excuse to poke around antique shops in Nashville. I thought I was pretty smart seeking out old Ivory soaps. My piece de resistance was a vintage Ivory soap crate that would hold little goodies for my lovey.

You can imagine our surprise when we discovered we bought each other the exact same thing. I think we've officially become that little old couple that thinks alike. The poor Mister! It probably stands to reason. We already complete each other's sentences and I'm fairly sure I've told him all my best stories. Twice.

So we have two cute vintage wooden soap boxes in the living room to remind us of 14 years. And I have nearly 365 days to come up with something uniquely crystal!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Proof of Light

It was surely a sign this morning to open the back door to the prettiest sunbeams ever. Have you ever seen anything like it? Right in your own backyard?! Do you have a backyard? Aren't they fantastic? We forgot how much we like a yard. Or "garden," if you will.

Anyway, we would have stood in awe of this light show longer, but the school bell beckoned. Still, it was a much needed sign from above. I promise you it was even more lovely in person and the beams seemed to multiply and dance. I backed out of the carport to back seat chatter over whether that was "Jesus saying 'hi' to us!"

Whenever we're in church and the sun comes streaming through the windows, I always whisper to the smalls that it is God peeking in to say "hello" and "thanks for coming" (and NOT "I saw you duck in a bit late again" or "Really would have been nice to wear shoes other than Converse lo tops...") so that about 10 sunbeams were shooting through our backyard today MUST be a greeting. We're convinced.

It was something to be sure and not a moment too soon as this has been a bit of a tough week for our new students. They're working very hard at being new and taking baby steps all the time. Tentative and wobbly and deserving of huge praise and loud cheering. Also warmly welcome brightness comes from lots of Virginia friends visiting! Five in nearly as many days. Friends who've known us since before the Mister and I were Mr and Mrs and way before the smalls were small. Making new friends but keeping the old. Always.

So we're fairly sure all this sunny visitation is meant for us.

Either that or God really likes Yukon XLs.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Global Design

When we were new to the flat, our relocation agents suggested we not expend too terribly much effort to get our surroundings "done" and rather to strive for just enough and then investigate London. Wise counsel. There is surely a balance when decorating a rental home. There are limits to what you can do to someone else's property, but maybe even more so in temporary quarters, a real need to personalize the place.

To that end, we're nearly done making this our home so we can spend the most of our energies exploring Nashville and enjoying each other. I think the Mister and I are officially speed nesters. We've got this down. 

Sometimes even little (and cheap!) touches can make a room seem like your own. Evidence the before and after of the boys' room. Forgive the unmade bed. Someone was napping there.

Down came the bunting and up went a bundle of inflatable globes and United States and world wall maps.

Aside from being a quick and cheap transformation, the best bit of this was how excited the boys were to see it after school yesterday. Made me feel like I was on top of the world!

Hope you're feeling that way today and always. xo

Monday, September 16, 2013

Good Cheers

Thanks for all the cheers, love and support. We did lots of cheering this weekend. Big Brother really hit his stride with Cross Country which is cause for much celebration. I think I cheered the loudest. Of anyone on the course. I think that because people kept looking at me!  They would have been just as boisterous if they knew how great this was for Big Brother and for us all. And that last week he had a really lousy run that blew his confidence when it was already pretty flimsy. So to see him passing people, smiling, succeeding, happy?! To know we're all mixing and mingling among our new school friends during the meets? Enough to make everyone hoot and holler.

We sported our team colors.

Baby Sister wore hers with her boots. She tries to wear them to bed.

Biggest Brother gets lots of credit for being his buddy's self proclaimed, "Assistant Coach." The title of Head Coach goes to the Mister. Long runs have been great for our guys.

Big Sister had worked the course during Big Brother's race with the Mister last week. So she led the way yesterday ensuring we could cheer for him in 4 different spots. Everyone was doing their part. Cheer. Cheering. Good cheer. Hooray!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Running. In Place.

We're plugging away, friends. Our review would likely change minute by minute, day by day. Ebbing and flowing with the settling in. We've landed in a lovely town and in a great school with warm and welcoming staff and families. But we're also clinging onto our former life and feeling more than a bit in between, unsettled, unmoored. I am working through a treatise on repatriation like you wouldn't believe. Some of you are already suffering through my lengthy emails. Tough training, these days to be sure.

We're challenging each other to be outgoing even when we'd rather cocoon. To make new friends when we know full well we have a bundle of fantastic friends. Many of whom are just an ocean away. Trying to keep a mental list of all the pros to our life here and not overly romanticize our past, too. It helped that a London friend reported this morning that they awoke to 13C!  Oh, right. The weather in London wasn't great. But there was all that good cheese, and brioche and mini pain au chocolat.

So it is high time to enjoy pep rallies, sweet tea, thunderstorms and listening to NPR on the way to school. See, I am putting things in the pro column!

Everyone is seeking new and exciting ways to get involved. Our maybe just get moving. Big Brother has joined the school's cross country team. Ahead of his first meet he did a long run (2 miles) with the Mister and the next day conducted a little training for the girls. They sorted their "running clothes" for nearly as long as they actually ran but it was well worth it.

Orange you glad you dropped by? I sure am. Now can you come over soon? You can help with the slicing, running and general moving forward. Biggest Brother's fan club might wonder where he was during all the running around. I suspect he was doing homework. That seems to be his primary occupation these days. A good distraction from missing you and yours.

We all have homework of sorts. Tops on our list is making friends by being friends. But we know we're not alone. We have each other and your great support and God's with us, too. I was reminded of that very plainly this morning at the school's Mass. Would you believe these first lines of the first hymn the children sang:

"Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I'll follow..."