patriotic outfits

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celebrating the fourth of july in england is always a bit weird, but i cannot let an independence day go by without patriotic outfits! this year the boys and i met up with ian after work all spangled up in red white and blue. we had burgers and fries for dinner and played in st. james’s park together. we are deeply grateful for the freedoms we have enjoyed as americans. and this fourth of july we were feeling so much excited anticipation about our upcoming trip to the usa!

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ten thoughts on a wednesday |39|

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happy fourth of july! it's always a bit weird for us to have this day be a regular old work day ... but we are planning to celebrate a little together tonight. and we are getting sooooo excited to go to the states in a couple of days!!! seriously so pumped. there probably won't be much happening on this blog over the next three weeks while we are traveling and with family, but you can follow our adventures on my instagram if you want!

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^^ this morning we had an independence day picnic with bunch of mum & baby friends! here's mo wearing my sunnies and his patriotic swimsuit on our way to the park! ^^

we've had just over ten weeks with our angel gabriel. time definitely is flying. having two kids (and being their primary caretaker full time) has been more wonderful and less chaotic than i had expected.
i definitely do a lot more grocery delivery and have to be a bit more thoughtful about the logistics of outings than i used to, but almost every single day i take the boys out around the city for an adventure. several friends and people i've spent time around have expressed amazement that i've gotten out and about with both boys on my own so much. but the truth is that my days are much easier when we have at least one planned excursion. getting out the door is sometimes quite the feat and we're kind of a traveling circus with moses in the buggy and gabriel strapped on me on the tube and the bus, but staying at home most of the day makes all three of us crazy. gabriel sleeps so well in the wrap/carrier and moses is a much easier toddler over the course of several hours when we are on an outing compared to when we are at home.
i am trying to really cherish this specific season of my life. it's wild and beautiful.

i am grateful for this blog. i am so glad that i am in the habit of using it to organize pictures and record life, and i have learned a lot as i've shared parts of my life online publicly. i love the opportunities my blog has given me to connect with all kinds of different people. so if you're reading this, thanks for being here!
i answered some questions (those that only required a quick response!) in the comment section of the q&a post i published last week, and i plan to publish a few more q&a posts in the near future. i am always open to being asked pretty much any question by blog readers.

ian is a big time planner-aheader. sometimes we will laugh together when i tell him i'll only discuss plans with him if they are happening before 2020 :) as of now, we have mapped out what we are going to do with every one of ian's vacation and paternity days through the next 12 months. you can see what travels we are planning on my world travel page! we definitely have a spreadsheet that outlines everything we want to do while we are living in europe and ian has organized it with all kinds of different categories, etc. the great thing about my husband is that his planning ahead often really pays off (literally and otherwise) and he is simultaneously really spontaneous, excited to embrace serendipity, and flexible around changes of plans. i love sharing life with him.

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^^ some random photos from a play date we had one morning. these two boys were totally cracking me up with their silly antics. i love seeing moses develop friendships! ^^

lately i have felt like my marriage is in the best place it has ever been. it's weird, because i think for many couples the opposite is true, but both times ian and i have had a baby the quality of our marriage has sharply increased. working together to care for a baby (and now a baby and a toddler) is just really beautifully bonding for us, and parenting together reminds us to cherish each other and work harder to support each other in the most effective ways. sometimes when i am with ian i just stop dead in my tracks and think, "wow, i really really love this person."

i happened upon this old blog post the other day. i was glad to be reminded of the "life commandments" i had decided on - and i have rededicated myself to them. i think i'll come up with some "life commandments 2.0" soon.

i heard this the other day (on the stories of this instagram account): "for us to judge a child based on our [adult] standards of behavior - it's not fair." that really rung true to me and i have been thinking about this concept a lot lately. i really like ralphie's approach to "positive parenting" and have enjoyed watching/listening to her stories.

i love london summer nights so much. i love that it stays light until past 10pm and that the weather feels so perfectly kind. last night i took a different route on my walk home from yoga and my journey ended up taking almost twice as long as normal because i was just wrapped up in the dreaminess of the evening - the sunsetty sky, the beautiful leafy streets, the huddled fans watching england play in the world cup through pub windows. i am so glad this city is my home.

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i just think my kids are impossibly, out of this world, to die for cute. lately i have been trying to relish their cuteness in my heart of hearts rather than capture it in a photo or video. it's crazy sometimes, but i love getting to enjoy the unique sweetness of a newborn and the unique sweetness of a toddler all at once. and seeing my sons together is just the best. moses races to gabe when he's crying and puts his binkie in, he loves to try to make his baby brother smile by talking to him in baby talk, and he he is always eager to help gabriel give a high five. i feel really really lucky to be mom to these boys. i am so grateful!

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wish us luck with the four flights (two of which are transatlantic), ~20 hours in a car, and 8 different places to sleep that we will experience with a newborn and a toddler over the next three weeks! ... not to mention -- jetlag!! eeeek. it's going to be a wild adventure, absolutely worth any pain because we get to see every single family member on both sides (minus one niece on my side but including ian's four grandparents)!

happy wednesday! life is beautiful!

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a second birthday party for moses!

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on saturday we had a birthday party for little mo with a bunch of our londoner friends! moses doesn't turn two until 9 july, but we wanted to celebrate with pals here before we leave for the usa next week.

we shared ice lollies, lots of sunshine, a herd of balloon animals, and a piñata with dear friends in our garden. we were bummed that many of those we invited couldn't make it, but it was a fun and lively afternoon and we loved seeing moses surrounded in many good, good people that we are so grateful to have in our lives. (a london party with a pinata and ice cream has become a tradition for moses's birthday - here's a post from last year!

it was kind of crazy chasing kids, catching up with different friends, and letting people in and out of the gate with our one set of keys, so i didn't get many pictures. but i always want to remember how excited moses was to giggle, run, play and enjoy ice cream with his pals (both kids and adults!). it was a wonderful celebration.

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^^ we have been working so hard trying to teach moses about being gentle, so it was maybe a bit confusing when we told him to hit the piñata as hard as he could, haha! he decided to hold on to it to keep it from swinging so he could whack it more efficiently ;) all the kids got a turn hitting the piñata, but they didn't make a dent so we let adults take some turns too. ^^
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^^ this is mo's annoyed face when i ask him to look at me for a photo of him devouring an ice cream cone :) and we love our little pal jonas! ^^
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the celebrations will continue with family in the state around moses's actual big day! i can't believe it's been nearly two years with our little mo. we love him like crazy.

the test is over!!!

last saturday, ian took the third and final round of the cfa exam. after three years of intense study, we are dooooone!! ian has done an amazing job juggling everything in life as he's put in countless hours of preparation for these tests, and passing all three is a huge accomplishment. (we don't get the results of level three until september, but we are optimistic.) the studying has been intense for me as well as ian had to take time away from home and the boys and as i've done my best to support all his hard work. the relief that has come from it all being over is gigantic, and it feels so wonderful to be able to move on as a family.

moses, gabriel and i went to the testing center to see ian when he finished the exam. my heart was racing as we waited for the doors of the room he was in to open. we were all pretty pumped and i was sooo glad to hear ian say he felt pretty good about his performance. (you never know ... but fingers crossed!) we rode the emirates airline - a cable car that goes over the thames river in east london - and shared a celebratory dinner together at a mexican restaurant.

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^^ mo and daddy rejoicing at the testing center and smiling for the camera on the cable car. ^^

our big celebration was a couple of days later when ian and i had a special date night. we went to this restaurant in covent garden called clos maggiore that we had been wanting/planning to go to for literally three years (throughout the entirety of ian's cfa studying!). they call this place "the most romantic restaurant in the world" - not sure who gets to decide that, haha! ian heard that and decided to take me there for our first anniversary. but turns out you need a reservation many months in advance! around the time of our second anniversary he snagged a reservation, only to find out that he had reserved a spot in the restaurant but not in the "conservatory" room that gives this place its romantic reputation. then there was traveling and moving and pregnancy ... last december ian called and asked for the first reservation available in the conservatory and we were booked in for 25 june! two days after the cfa, so the perfect opportunity to celebrate :)

after all that lead up, we had pretty high expectations ... and ended up having a really fantastic, memorable, and yes, romantic meal. the food was delicious and the flower-laden, mirrored room was pretty magical.

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^^ a sneaky mirror picture! ;) ^^
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^^ the dessert was the best part. i loved everything about this. ^^
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^^ after our meal we walked along golden jubilee bridge to look over our city at twilight. ^^

and here's a few random pictures from life post-cfa. london has been really warm recently; our little boys are growing up every day and are both just slaying us with their cuteness; evenings and weekends feel so much more free and there's just no studying hanging over anyone's head! it's glorious :) next week we go to the usa, and we are so excited!

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^^ a neighbourhood pub, drenched in flowers and sunshine! ^^
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^^ we went to a little friend's birthday party and mo got to take a couple animal balloons home! these things brought him soooo much joy! ^^
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^^ moses genuinely loves his brother, and it's so so fun to see our two boys together. ^^
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^^ little mo is just the best. the other day i was hugging and kissing him and i said, "moses, i loooove you! do you love me, too?" and he said, "so much." my heart was in a puddle! it made up for a couple hours earlier when he ran next to gabriel just as i'd finally gotten the baby to sleep and yelled "wake up!!!" haha. ^^
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^^ and this guy!!! he's been smiling and cooing like crazy lately and we just think he's got to be the sweetest baby ever, ever! ^^
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^^ an afternoon at a splash pad with a pretty great view... ^^
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^^ and a sunny walk across the second best bridge in the world! ^^
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^^ we spent yesterday morning paddling with friends in the reflecting pool in the courtyard at the v&a museum. ^^
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^^ moses loves this place and "swimmin' like a fish"! ^^
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^^ smiles during tummy time - a breakthrough :) ^^

see you never, cfa!! hooray!