lately in london...
the past couple of days it has been coooooold here in london. it seems like over the weekend the city decided to go ahead and transition from autumn to winter. fall is my absolute favourite, so i'm a bit sad that it's winding down, but i'm also so excited for festive things ahead!
here's what we've been up to over the past few weeks among the foliage...
it has started to get dark pretty much as soon as moses wakes from his nap. so in the afternoons we've been chasing sunlight! trying to get as much of that stuff under our skin as possible as the days get shorter and shorter. a couple weeks ago we raced up to kensingston gardens post-nap and i let mo just run free up the broad walk as dusk rapidly creeped in.
i'm glad i snapped these photos of the orange tree around the corner and the yellow tree outside our bedroom window ... because a few days later they were totally bare!
i got to catch a glimpse of the memorial installation that happened in the moat of the tower of london leading up to armistice day (this year marks one whole century since the end of world war i). every night thousands of torches were lit around the castle walls to remember the fallen who fought for freedom. remembrance sunday (the sunday closest to 11 november) is a really big deal in the uk, and it was so moving to stand with the congregation at church on that day at 11am and observe two minutes of silence together. i am so incredibly grateful for the safety and freedom that my family enjoys.
we spent a saturday doing a temple trip...
since the london temple is actually not super close to london, we dedicate an entire day to getting there. this time we rented a car and made a stop en route at godstone farm, a perfectly delightful place tucked into the english countryside. moses is obsessed with animals and particularly farm animals, so this place was heaven for him - especially because there were also two big indoor play places! he got to hold a bunny and a chick, wave at donkeys and goats and cows and llamas, and climb and slide to his heart's content.
the drive to and from the temple was stunning, and the grounds were just bursting with fall beauty. ian and i traded off going inside the temple and staying with the boys, who both napped while we walked through the woods behind the temple.
london autumn is just g l o r i o u s.
especially kensington gardens/hyde park. we took the long/scenic route to church one sunday...
...and i brought a suitcase with me because...
after church i headed straight to the intercontinental park lane hotel for a tiny staycation all by myself. ian gave me a christmas gift a bit early: 30 hours alone. i used a free hotel night we had qualified for (thanks to credit card points) and the boys went to the children's centre at ian's office the next day. it was awesome. i planned it all out so i had a good balance of getting stuff done and relaxing, and i felt soooo rejuvenated by the end.
meanwhile, christmas started popping up all over the city...
and i'm thrilled. i used to be a really staunch believer that celebrating christmas at all before thanksgiving dilutes the magic, but since moving to a non-thanksgiving-observing country i've decided that christmasing in november only enhances the magic. i'm glad to have a bit of time to gear up before the december madness and wonder and happy begins!
our dear friend had baby number two and we took her toddler (new big brother!) to the park one day:
and the next went to a christmas-lights-switchon event in marylebone (one of my favourite parts of london). there were live reindeer:
and a carousel, which mo decided must be the best thing on the planet.
he was very sure he wanted to ride the rooster and man, those smiles were definitely worth two pound fifty!
let the christmas crazy begin!! but let's make sure to relish the last of autumn simultaneously! ;)
one night ian and i spontaneously decided to spring for some tickets to the atp finals, a tennis tournament happening at london's huge 02 arena. ian has always wanted to see roger federer play (i had seen him at the us open and told ian how amazing it was!), he was playing the next night and there were a few tickets available ... so we quickly found a babysitter and went for it! it was such a fun night. federer beat kevin anderson and it is absolutely incredible to see him play live. he makes it all look totally effortless!
this week we've been collecting leaves, staying warm by playing indoors at museums, making turkeys out of handprints and filling up our thankful tree!
we get three thanksgiving celebrations this year: we had a simplified feast last weekend in switzerland with my brother and his family (more on that later), are gathering with good friends on actual thanksgiving for a potluck, and are spending this coming saturday with close family friends outside of london doing alllll the traditional thanksgiving stuff. i'll take three rounds of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing - yes please!
i'm really feeling full of gratitude this season. i love my life and i'm really happy. i am outrageously privileged and need to do more to share and give and reach out. i am so incredibly thankful for my husband and sons and the family we are building together in this amazing city.