ten thoughts on a wednesday |48|

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i'm taking january off of social media (which, for me, includes mostly instagram and a couple of facebook forums/groups). i've had a few "social media breaks" in the past, but this is the longest i've ever gone without scrolling through online "feeds" since they became a thing (which is kind of crazy, when you think about it!). i'm just trying to take a step back and consider the purpose of social media in my life. it is definitely something that i want to be a part of my life but i want to be thoughtful about what amount and type of space it fills in my every day. it's wild to think about how much this online world has expanded in the past few years. i absolutely love keeping up with friends and family and gaining information and inspiration from different sources through social media. but it feels good to be on a bit of a break.

last saturday, gabriel had his first haircut! since the moment this little guy was born, we have adored his wild and awesome hair. but it was time to tidy it up a little :)
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little gabe was a champ throughout this new experience, and got to have his big brother right next to him also getting a haircut at the same time. he now looks so much older to me!
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it is sooo dreary in london these days. i always say that london is spectacular ten months of the year (not just great, but truly spectacular) ... but we pay for that a bit with january and february. it's not frigid cold (which i appreciate), but it is just sooo gloomy with really short daylight hours and gray skies. i feel so lucky to have a beach vacation to look forward to: we are going to the canary islands at the beginning of february! we are using hotel points to stay for free at an awesome resort on tenerife, and even though it won't be swim-in-the-ocean warm, there will be heated pools and balmy sunshine. and no sightseeing schedule - just relaxing and playing and being together. i'm so excited.

speaking of traveling and sightseeing ...
some say that it's silly to travel with small children because they won't remember any of the experiences they have. i think that's a bit like saying it's silly to read with small children because they won't remember any of the stories. it's not about remembering, it's about developing! while our family trips can definitely be exhausting in some ways, i really feel that they are worth all the effort they require. traveling builds us and bonds us and broadens us.

a couple of weekends ago ian cashed in on a christmas gift i gave him - tickets to ride the longest slide in the world! how random is that?! ha.
at olympic park in east london, where many of the events were held during the 2012 olympics, there's this crazy structure called the arcelormittal orbit. it is britain's largest piece of public art, a sculpture and observation tower. and, as of 2016, it has been home to the world's longest slide. ian somehow learned about this and got so excited about it (this kind of random, record-breaking thing is right up his alley). he had been wanting to go for ages. so i scheduled a babysitter, bought tickets for early january, and wrapped them up for christmas morning.
i have to say, riding that slide was seriously really, really fun. and we had a great time exploring the observation tower and bits of the park.
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i've felt my faith growing lately as i've sincerely questioned it. this past saturday we went to the temple and while inside i tried to dig deep in asking myself if the rich peace i felt there was self-created or culturally-conditioned. and as i earnestly consider that, i just can't deny that it's real - so much bigger than me and my circumstances. this is just one small example of experiences i have had trying to strip my faith down to its core, examining how it may be contrived or influenced.

my oldest niece, elle, had long layovers in london on her way to and from a trip with a couple friends to spain and portugal. it was sooo great to spend a little bit of time with her (and her pals) in our home town, especially because i haven't had much of a change to really get to know her as an adult (she's twenty). she's seriously so awesome - i am so impressed with her. we've always been buddies and i've loved her since the day she was born (i got to be one of the first people she ever met when she was a few hours old and i was twelve years old), but it's really fun to connect even more as grown-ups.

my marathon training has officially begun in earnest! i am following a twenty week training plan, which started this past monday. i am soooo grateful for my healthy body. that said, i definitely can feel that i am getting older ... i'm feeling all achey and creaky after runs, ha! i'm trying to be careful to really take care of my joints to avoid injury in training. and i'm getting pumped up for the stockholm marathon on 1 june 2019!

i am loving our new sunday schedule. we've switched meeting times with the other congregation that meets in our building and now start church at 9am instead of 11am. i love just waking up and getting going, and our walk to church through the empty streets of kensington. the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints used to hold three hours of meetings on sundays, but that was just reduced to two hours to allow for more time building faith in the home. so now we finish church at the same time we used to start church ... which means our sundays just feel so luxuriously long! we have loved doing a "sunday lesson" together at home and talking about ways we can reach out to our congregation and our larger community as a family.

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^^ pictures from a babysitting playdate with one of mo's favourite friends, and a big babysitting swap we did at the temple last saturday. ian is a total toddler magnet. ^^

i'm guessing that several of my ten thoughts posts have ended with this one ... but i just have to say (again and again..): i love being moses and gabriel's mom. i feel so grateful that i can be their primary caregiver and that i've chosen to spend all day everyday with them. gosh it is hard and can be totally crazy but man i love it. watching these two grow and playing with them and teaching them and learning from them and giggling with them and cuddling them when giggles have turned to tears - it's just the best. the love i feel for these two little boys is outrageous.

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happy wednesday! life is beautiful.

new years in roma

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we spent the last day of one year and the first day of the next year in a city that has been glorious for many years.

lingering jet lag meant that gabriel and i had been up together many times throughout the nights we spent in rome. to help me get more sleep, ian cuddled up with the baby in the wee hours and then took the boys out on some adventures in the morning hours. i was a little jealous that he got to see roma in the pretty dusk before allllll the other tourists came out. but i was much more glad to get in a bit more zzzzzs!
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we spent the later morning of new years eve in the colosseum! ian was pretty pumped about this (he loves experiencing famous significant landmarks).
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mo thought it was all pretty cool, too.
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here's a view from inside the colosseum to the arch of constantine.
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i loved how we could see some of rome's colourful building facades peeking through the colosseum's arches.
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we spent some time trading off with the boys at the roman forum (which isn't super stroller-friendly...). this was one of my favourite things we saw in rome. the views from the top of palantine hill were amazing!
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and the views of the colosseum from the edge of the forum was perfect to snap some family pictures.
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i spy st. peter's!
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we went to a fun restaurant where we could watch fresh pasta being made through the window while we waited for a table. and once we were in, gabriel loved sitting on the table while we waited for our order to come out!
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at the end of the day we strolled through rome's christmassy streets and then along the river. a perfect little goodbye kiss to 2018!
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we had booked an airbnb that was on the top floor of a building in hopes to see some of the many fireworks shows that go off around rome when the clock strikes midnight on 31 december. after the boys were asleep, i furiously read the book of mormon to try to complete my goal of finishing it by the end of the year. i finished at 11:50pm! and then ian and i got out some bubbly drinks, turned off all the lights, and looked out the windows in the kitchen and living room, waiting for fireworks. it was so fun to excitedly rush between the rooms taking in different colourful shows in the sky. some of the firework displays were pretty close to us! and others were evidenced only by the flashing reflections in the windows of buildings around ours. we briefly opened a window and took in the booming sounds filling the thrilled air. it was a memorable new years eve for sure!

the next morning ian took the boys out again (first thing in the morning, in their pajamas!) so i could sleep. he took them first back to trevi fountain and then back to the spanish steps. hardly anyone was out!
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when i woke up, i met them back at trevi fountain (my favourite spot in rome for sure). it was so fun to find this little elf there and then together toss in some coins. the long-held tradition is that if you throw a coin in trevi fountain, you are destined to go back to rome one day! moses was so excited by this and was jumping up and down in those candy cane striped pajamas saying, "i made a wish! i come back to rome!"
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he was also pretty thrilled to just examine walls of magnets (one of his favourite things in the world) at souvenir stalls.
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after packing up our bags at the airbnb, we went out for one last meal. the fresh pasta and pizza at da francesco was sooooo yummy. and it was great fun to sit outside on the cobbled street chowing down and taking in our last bits of roman magic. i had decided by this point that i did really like rome after all ;)
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gabriel looooved the ravioli!
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we got one last gelato. here's the face of an incredibly excited two year old whose mom has asked him to smile for a picture but he just wants to eat his ice cream right now so so much!
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moses napped in the buggy once we got to the airport (sweet kid was exhausted after that morning of so much fun and sun!) and then we enjoyed some amazing views of the french alps on our flight home to london.
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grazie roma, for a fantastic end to a blessed year and an exciting start to another year ahead!