24 July 2017

london—>new york city—>baltimore—>dallas—>salt lake city & provo

we returned to london last night after two and a half weeks in the usa visiting family. it was a wild wonderful whirlwind trip that included lots of spectacular highs along with a few not-so-fun lows. we were able to see nearly every family member on both sides (we sadly missed one of ian’s brothers and his family, and an eyre niece and nephew) and to enjoy some of our favourite places and american stuffs.

the first half of our trip was a lot of city hopping – we flew into new york city and then took a train to baltimore, then hopped on a plane to dallas, celebrated moses’s first birthday at grandma and grandpa’s house (another post coming all about that special day!), then flew to salt lake city and drove down to provo to visit ian’s grandparents and spend a night with his two sisters and their husbands. phew! after that we had one short day in slc seeing friends (moses and me) and working (ian) before heading up to bear lake (where we spent the second half of our trip).

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^^ we were only in nyc for about fourteen hours, all of which were spent in transit, in slumber, or in a jet laggy haze. but i insisted we spend just a tiny sliver of time soaking in the awesome electricity of the city on a street corner before getting on the amtrak train to baltimore. there’s just no place like new york city! ^^
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^^ after the train ride, it was so so fun for moses to be reuinted with his cousins! ian’s brother just moved to baltimore about two weeks before we got there, so it was great to see their new house and hear about their new life! i failed to get any pictures of the adults (whoops!), but seriously little mo was super excited to be playing with cousins (even if he looks not super enthused in this picture ;) ) ^^
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after a pizza dinner and games (and jet lag hitting hard), the next morning we headed to a beach on the chesapeake bay with margaret and the kids. ^^ it was a beautiful day and everyone had a total blast swimming (and margaret and i enjoyed chatting on the shore). our time in baltimore was so short but really great. ^^
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our flight to dallas was delayed four hours so we had a realllly late arrival (2:30am!) but were excited to play with grandma and grandpa, uncle brig, aunt lucia, and cousin sophie in the morning! (ian’s youngest brother and his wife and baby were living with ian’s parents – they just moved to boston last week!)  ^^ in the afternoon, we went together to the dallas world aquarium as a little birthday party activity for moses (his birthday was the next day, sunday). the aquarium was so cool and also so crowded, and all the traveling had caught up with the sweet birthday boy – he had a runny nose and a cough and was just not feeling well :( poor baby was seriously trying to enjoy seeing things that normally would make him wild with glee, but just wasn’t himself. still, we all eight appreciated the wonders of the aquarium and loved being together. ^^
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^^ we had lots of chill hang out time at grandma and grandpa’s house, which was wonderful (especially the time spent playing with the new basketball game that had shown up in the living room since we were last there…). love seeing these two cousins (almost exactly six months apart) together. we couldn’t sit them toooo close together for photos though because moses just wanted to grab his cutie cousin’s eyes and nose and ears – she’s irrisitiable :) ^^
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^^ grandma put up lots of decorations around the house for little mo’s birthday. a whole post about our celebrations coming next. ^^
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after spending five hours waiting in line at the texas dmv (yuuuuck!) and saying goodbye to grandma and grandpa, we flew to salt lake and spent the night at my parents’ condo downtown. ^^ first thing in the morning, we drove down to provo to visit ian’s grandparents. they are all four so sweet and i love being in their homes. (having spent the majority of my life with only one living grandparent, i relish this stuff.) i know moses doesn’t look super happy in that picture with grandma allred, but he really did have a blast at his great grandparents’ houses (he was just woken up a little early from his nap!). i’m so grateful for the heritage that my children have because of these noble souls. ^^
^^ we spent the evening with ian’s two sisters and their husbands (who all live in provo). we had dinner, played games, and stayed up late talking and laughing. love these guys! ^^
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^^ back in salt lake, i was able to be reunited with my dear dear friend sara (we hadn’t seen each other in two years and had never met each other’s babies!) and have a lunch picnic with three of my best friends from high school (and their seven children!). it’s always so wonderful to reconnect in person and i’m so grateful for good, good friends.

we are so blessed to have so many amazing people in our lives!

5 July 2017

ten thoughts on a wednesday

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a belated happy fourth of july!! i absolutely love independence day. it’s a little different celebrating it in england … it’s the only day of the year when i feel truly homesick for america. ian had to go to work of course, but we still made the day special – with our stars and stripes outfits, shake shack for dinner, and even some mini sparklers before bedtime! moses and i also enjoyed a picnic in the park with american friends and some classic american food (chocolate chip cookies, pigs in a blanket, oreos, pretzels, etc). we are really grateful for the freedom and security we experience as americans. traveling and living abroad has decreased my nationalism and increased my patriotism, which i think is good.

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speaking of the usa, we are headed there today! in just a few hours we leave to fly across the ocean and i am so pumped! our first stop is new york city. we are just sleeping over there and then hopping on a train tomorrow morning to go to baltimore, where ian’s brother lives. then we go on to grandma and grandpa’s house in texas and next monday we fly to utah. it’s going to be a crazy whirlwind trip full of family and jet lag and sun. i think the long-haul plane ride is going to be really different this time around than last time (in february to sri lanka) – moses now very much understands the joy of independent mobility and is as wiggly as they come. sooo…send us some good vibes for an okay long flight with a one year old!

ian and i have been talking about gratitude a lot lately – about how gratitude can transform anything. we’re trying to remember gratitude whenever we become critical or complain. there is always something to be grateful for.

speaking candidly, it has been difficult for me to cultivate friendships since we moved to london. i think there are several reasons for that that make sense, but it’s been kind of hard for me to adjust to this new pattern of relationship-making (in all my previous moves to new cities, awesome friendships have developed pretty easily). more recently, i’ve felt more secure in growing friendships, and that makes me really glad! last week i went to dinner with some girlfriends and we sat at the table chatting and laughing for over two hours, and it was good for the soul.

i’ve decided that it’s time for me to start investing more in taking care of my skin, and for me to learn how to use makeup. now that i’m thirty one – haha! i’ve just always winged it with drug store products, but ever since having a baby the skin on my face has been noticeably more worn down, and it just needs and deserves some tlc! the beauty product world is so foreign (and quite overwhelming!) to me, but i’m starting to delve in a bit…

moses is just the cutest. here’s some pictures of him having fun at the mirror. gosh we just love this kid. he makes life one million times better.

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last week moses and i took the tube to the end of the line to play with some friends out in kew. it’s always pretty nice to get out of central london and have a bit more space to breathe. we spotted some lovely charming sights around kew and snapped a couple of pictures. i really love england so much. IMG_7940 IMG_7944

moses is obsessed with his dad, and it makes me so happy! whenever ian is around, mo is constantly reaching for him, and as soon as he gets in his dad’s arms he pats him on the back and makes sounds of glee. if ian hands moses off to me, baby boy often starts furiously signing “more please, more please!” and leaning back towards dad. he often spontaneously snuggles into ian’s neck to give a legitimate hugs. he can barely contain his excitement when ian gets home from work in the evenings, or when he gets to get in the shower with dad. it’s just the sweetest thing to watch the loving relationship between those two boys of mine.

last friday, my dear friend brittany had a long layover in london. so, naturally, we went to a fancy afternoon tea together! if you’ve read this blog for even just a little while, you’ll know that brittany is my soulmate when it comes to appreciating lovely things. there’s no one i’d rather share afternoon tea (one of my favourite things on earth) with! i had been looking forward to this experience for months – i saved up some leftover monthly budget money and i even arranged for moses to stay at home with a friend so i could enjoy tea with both hands! we went to claridge’s and positively swooned over all the prettiness and deliciousness and wonderfulness. although we decided claridge’s is overpriced when compared to other afternoon tea experiences, we had a truly fabulous time.

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seriously, we have the sweetest little baby in the world.
i can’t wait to see mo’s excitement being with his cousins, celebrating his birthday at grandma and grandpa’s house, and experiencing the unparalleled wonders of bear lake for the first time!

this blog may be a bit quiet over the next couple of weeks while we are traveling around the usa. but you can follow along on our adventures via instagram if you want!

happy wednesday! life is beautiful!

3 July 2017

a first birthday party for moses!


last saturday we celebrated moses’s upcoming first birthday with a crowd of our awesome londoner friends!

we gathered in a park near our flat (the same place we had our gender reveal party last february!) and ate ice cream cones, cheered kids on as they whacked open a piñata, chatted, laughed, and partied hard. it was a pretty epic afternoon full of friends and festivity.

we will be in texas (at grandma and grandpa’s house!) on moses’s actual birthday this coming sunday, so it was really great to gather with a big bunch of our london friends and celebrate together. ian and i (and moses!) are so grateful for all the wonderful people in our life here in this city (including those who couldn’t come to the party or didn’t make it into the photo above!). we are sure lucky to have a lot of amazing examples and growing friendships in work, church, and life.

and little mo is lucky to have loads of pals and admirers :) 

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^^ moses wasn’t entirely sure what was going on at the beginning of his party… ^^

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^^ but once he got his first taste of ice cream, he knew this was all about a verrrry happy occasion! ^^
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^^ ian really packed that pinata so it was incredibly hard to crack, and three sticks were broken in the process, haha! at last the biggest of the kids at the party bust it open and treats abounded! ^^
^^ i’m not sure what’s going on in this photo, but it’s so happy and colourful! ^^
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^^ we’ve been pretty strict about not giving moses any sweets so far, but at his birthday party we decided to let him have at it with the ice cream :) he was pretty into it. ^^
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^^ always wanting to stand up! i wonder if he’ll be walking by the time we get back to london from our trip to the usa?! ^^
^^ mo with sweet friends, a few of whom arrived after we snapped the group picture! aren’t these kiddos the cutest?! ^^
^^ after the party we opened presents at home. we told our guests they definitely didn’t need to bring gifts, but a few did anyway. little mo didn’t complain about that! ;) he mostly got new books, which we were all thrilled about! ^^

i can’t believe our little baby is almost a one year old. we love him soooooooo much and we all three had such a blast at his london birthday party! thanks for celebrating with us, friends!!
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