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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Real Sports

Summer is near, friends!  Really, really near. As in we're serving Pimms and taking Pimms to go plates and pitchers along when we're invited to eat elsewhere. As both a tribute to our British life and a celebration. Of just about everything lately.

Today was the kids' Field Day at Our New School. Such fun was had by all and Baby Sister served as an excellent cheerleader.

I'm incredibly proud of the smalls this year. For building new friendships, adjusting to being back in America and just plain thriving.

I'm also (and here I'm sure I'm not alone) exceedingly glad that our summer has nearly arrived. They just go to school tomorrow morning for Mass and awards and to hug their teachers one last time. But as we've worn swimsuits more than school uniforms in the last few days, summer is upon us.

It isn't just that I'm glad the school year is coming to a close. In fact, any sort of next step is always bittersweet for me. But I'm so happy that they've not just endured but done really well this year. They have friends. They've learned so much (and not just the Pledge of Allegiance!) and they are happy and settling in Music City.

To say I'm grateful is both hugely repetitive and a giant understatement. We're here. We really like it. We're making lovely friends and in a great school. AND some of the luckiest of us are going to London before too long.

Good news. Good sports. Great cheer!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What a Difference

a school year makes.

Today was Baby Sister's last day of school. For comparison, here's the gang on her first day of school.

I might spend the rest of the week going back and forth between those pictures. If only to judge whose legs got longer quicker.

Do you know what I see most in the photo from today? It is real comfort. A sort of peace that wasn't there in August. In August, we were doing our best. Which, at times, meant faking it a bit.

We're not faking it anymore and we feel at home here. Those victories have been hard fought and aren't lost on me. In fact today, moments after this photo, Big Sister took a terrible spill which bloodied both knees (and kept her from kneeling at Mass!). Would you know she, all bandaged up and really weepy, went straight to the loving arms of her teacher? Her wonderful teacher who has loved her all through the year. Taken my little British school girl and made her a-okay in Music City. I could say the same for all of their teachers, their friends, the families we've befriended. We are so grateful this year. We see providence in our everyday.

It has all simultaneously gone too quickly and been such hard work that it is gratefully and finally over. It does seem a bit like we're mice on a wheel, having not really taken a proper (even a British/six week) summer since 2012. That was the Olympic summer for a point of reference.

But no matter how we feel about it, the school year for us all is quickly coming to a close. I cannot tell you how many of our prayers have been answered here. By having friends, loving our school and feeling at home.

My baby will soon go to Kindergarten and my oldest is "so excited!" about 7th grade. So while that may be bittersweet for Your Girl Friday, it is also so rich in goodness (and good news) that I cannot possibly complain. I wish you could meet our friends and see our school (and hooray for those of you who already have and will soon!). You'd see just what we mean about that sense of peace.

It's been a long year. But I can see now that it was also all meant to be. We're living it. We're here. And really happily so. Even tho I'm awfully weepy of late.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baby Sister Likes Me

She must -- look how fancy she thinks I am! Ours is a mutual admiration society. When I woke her this morning I complimented how lovely she was as she'd fallen asleep wearing a favorite dress (the Big Sister version of her "John Lewis dress" which was effectively her uniform about this time last year. We've just unearthed it from our summer clothes). But I digress. I told her, "You look so pretty in your dress" to which she sleepily replied, "you look so comfy in your pajamas!"

Baby Sister is my shadow and likes to dress alike, too. Apologies for my flash face, but check us out in our matching capes, tank tops and jeans! Sometimes we can even pull off matching jammies.

She's at an age when the every day is exciting. Just this week she held her little fingers up to my ear and proudly demonstrated that she knows how to snap!

It was very sweet to be fussed over at her class' "Muffins with Moms" celebration last week. I got a special pedicure, toured their art gallery (would you believe they painted in the style of Michelangelo on their backs with paper attached underneath a table?) and was served a lovely breakfast.

I've already framed her Momma portrait and cannot wait to get my hands on this huge Jackson Pollack-style piece. I think it is going to hang in the front hallway.

We're in the waning days of having a pre-schooler in our house and that's really okay. There's so much to celebrate and she's going to be a super Kindergartener. And we've got a whole summer stretching out before us. Maybe she'll be our art instructor.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fore! Also, Four.

This is what my girl wore to play a little round of backyard golf yesterday. Purple high heels, wristlet, gold lame belt and her sister's top made into a dress.

I hear you thinking up a joke about her being "in the weeds." Ha! She requested that particular hairdo, too. 

She's such a character. I envy her style. Her sass and swagger. And I usually feel a bit underdressed (but always greatly entertained) in her company. Next year she'll be in a uniform all day so she's due lots of dressing up and prancing around while she can. 

more soon!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Painting the Town

Biggest Brother's 12th birthday party was all about fanfare and fun! He invited his brother and some buddies to go paint balling. Is that a verb?

You may think that 12 is too old for a themed cake, favors and decorations. Do you know me? Or Big Brother for that matter? I'm happy to report that my kids are equally as crazed for themed birthdays as I am. But I kept this one simple and pre-teen boy approved.

I suggested Jackson Pollack books (get it? All those splatters?!) for favors, but Biggest Brother preferred even more simple. Gum balls and silly string in spray cans. Paint and balls both captured. Done.

I'm only showing you this sadly bare table (sans pizza and fruit and veg) to demonstrate that the table cloth was NOT polka dot, but rather indicative of paint balls. Right?

Deferring to the Birthday Boy, simple cupcakes with tiny rainbow sprinkles and bigger gum balls. In a rainbow of colors.

I really wish I'd taken pictures of the boys (and the Mister!) after all their paint balling. As it happened, the girls were off attending a party of their own, so by dinnertime it was just me and a houseful of amped up boys (big and small) excited from a day's shooting paint at each other. Eating pizza, telling their war stories and laughing contentedly. Showing off big paint splatters and bigger bruises.

There is so much about this party that I loved.

Starting with Biggest Brother having made really nice friends here. That's no small affair when you're The New Kid in the sixth grade. You'd really like his friends. They're nice to Big Brother and the girls and just genuinely great to have around. Biggest Brother is such a nice guy that I shouldn't be surprised that he's found nice friends, but I'm still really grateful for them (and their equally nice parents).

Also that the Mister took the gang off for the bulk of the adventure. And that Biggest Brother was genuinely worried about his buddies (especially his little brother) and their injuries after they'd all gone home.

And that I have nearly a whole year before an actual teenager lives here.