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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.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wide Open for Business

Friends!  I'm here and happily so and glad you are, too. We're positively swimming in lots and lots of summer fun. It is not even the 4th of July and it has been a wonderful whirlwind already. A trip to London, a gaggle of guests, long lie ins and lots of actual swimming, too! And that's before we've even had a beach trip. There is so much to tell you, but first I am tickled to say: I'm open for business!

I've just started an antique business in my very favorite antique mall in Nashville: GasLamp Too! It is where we've found all of our best Southern treasures and was programmed into our GPS while we were camped out in the hotel awaiting our goods' clearance through Customs last summer. (Can you believe that was nearly a year ago?!)

Now I have not just an official purpose to lurk about the shop lots, but even better, to purchase and share things I love. GasLamp has kindly to offered me this great space until my actual booth becomes available in August.

The kids and the Mister have been super to help with set up and display and lots of good cheer. And they've gone without the den for a few months while it has served as my warehouse of sorts. The other dealers have been gracious and welcoming and it is another lovely way for us to make new friends in Nashville. Hooray!

And I've already made my very first sale! A modest one to be sure but you've got to start somewhere, right? I cannot tell you how tickled I am to have started this adventure. Stay tuned.

More soon on our travels to London and all the joy summer has already delivered. And please get out your calendars to plan a visit and come see my shop -- soon and often!  xo

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tiny Tails. Under the Sea Adventures

We feted Baby Sister with a mermaid party last weekend. Only croissant crabs allowed.

It was quite possibly our most adorable party ever and it might take me a LONG post to tell you about it. Apologies in advance. If cute isn't your thing, look away now. But if you're in need of a quick and easy party, I'm your girl.

It was great luck that so much of this party came together the morning of the event. I'll never again plan to host people just hours after summer has begun. In the race to finish the school year and start to celebrate summer, there wasn't much party prep time. Really just time Big Brother and I logged getting ideas online. And most of that was spent mired in photos of cake wrecks. Nonetheless, I was determined that this -- being Baby Sister's first not just us birthday party -- would be full of fun and fanfare. And always - a theme!

But, I digress. (That might be the new name of this blog.)

Of course, at my house all the best parties start with a favor plan. The guests got sand buckets filled with bubbles and a super easy goldfish barrette/bow. So easy that I made extras for friends.

If you're going to whip up a last minute party, it pays to stockpile ribbon, clothes pins, google eyes and general art supplies. Keep your supplies separate from the kids' if you want to ever find them.

Goldfish hair bows: Loop medium-width orange grosgrain ribbon like you were making an advocacy bow. Tie that with a thinner ribbon behind the neck. Do fish have necks? The little opening makes the mouth. Hot glue a googley eye to the front and barrette in the back.

Blow a little air into a gift bag and tie with ribbon.

What if you have to make palm trees in a jif? Not to worry. Especially if you have lunch bags, pool noodles and tissue on hand. Just cut out the bottoms of the brown bags, crumple and thread them onto the noodles. Top with green tissue fronds. Three minutes max.

Of course, busy little mermaids will need to eat.

Croissant sannie platter dotted with bubble gum "pearls" - even if crabs don't make pearls. I cracked myself up seeing these guys staring at me in the frige all morning.

Nine-legged octopus (polypus?) veggie and dip platter and sea turtle fruit bowl. Fondant mermaid (thanks, Barbie for the bikini loan) as cake topper sitting on graham cracker sand. Goldfish and Swedish fish rounded out the lunch menu. 

We played lots of fishing games and had water balloons galore. The girls painted their own little clothes pin mermaids. We used q-tips as paint brushes. They LOVED this and spent lots of time with their creations.

I hot glued skeins of embroidery floss hairdos onto each clothes pin.

And what mermaid party would be complete without tails?

These were the cutest things EVER. And take less than 5 minutes each. I'm serious. Cute, quick and cheap? In addition to being my next band's name, those are things I strive for everyday.

Did I mention these are no sew? (Made extra important as our power went out the night before the party.) I took turquoise tea towels, attached layers of wide sparkle tulle ribbon with hemming/fabric tape and made a waistband with wide fabric headbands (sold in multipacks). The stretchy waistband also attached with fabric tape

Gather the base of the tail with ribbon and you've got a mermaid. Or two!

Invites were homemade with leftover ribbon and card stock. The vellum was a last minute addition (cut @ the bottom to look like waves) and what happenstance - it made it all look a little under water.

We had a great time and the guest of honor was even happier than the craft lady. Cheers!

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.