2

Out Like a Lamb

Well, March is over.  I’m 30, the craziness that is Malabrigo March has ended, the weather has finally started to turn nice here in Yorkshire, and we’ve just changed the clocks.  We’re hosting our last set of visitors from the states, and it’s occurred to me that when the leave, I can simply start readying the room for the movers, rather than re-making the bed and tidying for more guests.

So, there’s been knitting, birthday parties, travel, and lots of “doing” this month.  Though April will involve our move to the states, it will actually be a relatively calm month by comparison, I think.

Here’s a peek at some of this month’s exploits…

Shalom Cardigan, Malabrigo Chunky, Hollyhock

Shalom Cardigan, Malabrigo Chunky, Hollyhock

Chunky Dean Street Hat, Malabrigo Chunky, Oceanos

Chunky Dean Street Hat, Malabrigo Chunky, Oceanos

Too Lazy for Thumbs, Handwarmers, Malabrigo Worsted, Taureg

Too Lazy for Thumbs, Handwarmers, Malabrigo Worsted, Taureg

Belated Shot of an Excited Me at My 30th Birthday Parth

Belated Shot of an Excited Me at My 30th Birthday Parth

The girls at Easby Abbey

The girls at Easby Abbey

Sam and I at Easby Abbey

Sam and I at Easby Abbey

Whew…in like a lion, out like a lamb, that’s for sure.  Here’s to April…

5

Bonjour Paris…Au Revoir Paris!

I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Paris with two friends. And by whirlwind, I mean whirlwind. We went from the moment we arrived on Saturday afternoon until the moment we left on Monday morning.

We walked (a lot…my legs still hurt), we ate (a lot…my tummy is still full), we drank (a lot…I don’t want to drink any wine for awhile), we saw (a lot…just you wait), and we conquered (a lot…from a lost wallet to metro rides across a foreign city).

We did.

I could write for hours about everything we did, everything we saw, and everything that we ate and drank. But I may just have to let the pictures and their captions tell the story for now. Breakfast in Paris, lunch in mid-air, and dinner with the girls appears to be a bit much for me, and I’m going to have to hit the sheets sooner, rather than later.

It was a fabulous weekend…I wouldn’t change a thing.

Tour Eiffel by day...

Tour Eiffel by day...

...and by night.

...and by night.

Fiona, Jenny, and I on the bus tour.

Fiona, Jenny, and I on the bus tour.

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

The Louvre

The Louvre

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

And the classic shot that will go down in infamy…me, after I retrieved my lost wallet from the Paris police station (with all of its possessions still inside). Thanks, man behind the counter at Jeff de Bruges. If you are ever in the Opera District and looking for fine chocolates, not only are these delicious, but there’s a great a great guy working there who found and turned in my wallet, too.

Me, Wallet in Hand!

Me, Wallet in Hand!

Ahh…memories.  Au revoir, Paris!

1

Knackered.

That’s the best word I could come up with to describe how I feel today.  I am completely and utterly worn out.  Yesterday was an absolutely fab time with friends, but I had no idea how old I was getting.  Seven hours on a train, knitting, hopping cabs to and fro in London, a knitting show, a pub lunch, 3 bottles of wine (I shared), and some walking around, and I seriously feel like I ran a marathon yesterday.  Maybe I’m getting to old for this!

We had a few unexpected problems along the way, but what journey doesn’t?  Ultimately though, we made it there and home relatively unscathed, still friends, and without having poked anyone’s eyes out with a dpn (though there was a lady on the train who almost deserved the honor).

The stalls were fab, filled with yarn, needles, and knitting books and notions.  The Yarn Harlot’s talk was great.  I got a fair amount of knitting done on the plain Jane sock I am working on. I had a great time with some of my closest friends here in Harrogate.

All in all, not a bad day, eh?

2

Empowered

I just spent 13 hours traveling alone with two small children (there were also 3 hours to the airport with my mom and 2 hours driving home after Marcus grabbed us!). We waited in an airport, flew across an ocean and experienced boarding and runway delays, made it through customs and immigration, and finally met up with my husband, whom we haven’t seen in almost 4 weeks.

I feel empowered.

I kept my cool with the the girls–I was calm, patient, and together.  I was organized.  I was in charge.

I am proud of myself.

I am home.

2

Going Home, Leaving Home

Today is the day.  The girls and I are flying alone together, for the first time ever, home to England, from home in Maryland.  I’m nervous and sad, but excited at the same time. 

That “picture worth a thousand words” quote keeps running through my head, and I am mentally picturing all the photographs we took on our trip, wondering if there is just one that could do the whole experience justice.

Since I can’t use the one of the girls running down the driveway playing, while naked, this is the best that I can do.

 Good-bye home.  Hello home.

6

There’s No Place Like Home

In less than 48 hours I will be sitting on a plane, heading back to the states to see my family and friends.

It’s been over a year since my last trip to the states, and I can’t even begin to express how much I am looking forward to it.

Here are so of the things I am looking forward to most of all…

  • seeing my family and friends
  • eating a Chipotle burrito
  • going to a real mall
  • swimming and getting a suntan…in the real, honest to goodness SUN!
  • going to the beach
  • seeing my family and friends
  • sitting on the screened in porch at my mom’s house, drinking a beer, watching the sailboats on the bay, and knitting.

The clock is ticking…

6

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…?

I imagine that this is true, in theory.  But I bet that the author never had to sort through almost 400 pictures of a family of four vacationing for two glorious weeks in Tuscany.  More than anything, I wish I could post one picture to sum it all up, and everyone reading would look at it and say, “Ahh…I get it.”

But in reality, I bet you won’t really “get it” until you book yourself a ticket to Italy and experience it for yourself.

I could show you this one, the view of my wine glass from the window in our villa, located in a small mountainside hamlet in Chianti Country.

But that doesn’t show the family nature of the trip. I’d have to show my favorite picture of all–my girls and I playing in the fountain in Monteriggioni.

But of course, my husband is missing from that picture, so of course I’d need to show you the one of the four of us sitting at a restaurant, with Florence in the distance.  We took this picture together at one of the wedding events celebrating the marriage of our close friends Meg and Alex, the reason we went to Tuscany in the first place (Congratulations, and thanks Meg and Alex!)

The pictures of us give that bit of personality to our pictures, but what about some of the beautiful shots from around Tuscany that are imprinted in our minds now, forever?  How could I forget shots like this one, of Siena’s famous piazza, a few days before the bareback horse race that would take over the city?

But how can I show the city without showing the country, and the drive from our hamlet into nearby San Gusme?

If I stopped with family and city and countryscapes, you’d never see this incredible shot of the hailstorm we had one evening (that’s real hail in my husband’s palm).

I haven’t even mentioned the shots of Montepulciano (hands down our favorite part of the trip), Michaelangelo’s David, the girls swimming and eating pizza, how much wine we really drank (at least 13 bottles…one for each day we were in Tuscany), the great time we had with my sister-in-law, who was a real trooper when Kicka got to pinching, the drive up the mountain that had me close to vomiting every time, the game of Crazy Eights that went on for at least two hours, the five Disney movies that we watched religiously, and the way the sun shone on us every single day.

Sigh…perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words.  But not if you are trying to help your readers see Tuscany, your family, and the reason you returned home relaxed and calm.  I’m pretty impressed that I even attempted it with just 6 pictures.  I suspect you will get a few more here and there over the next week.  I’m not ready to be home from Italy just yet.

Ciao!

3

Arrivederci!

Off we go.  Bright and early tomorrow morning my family and I will head to the airport, where we’ll wing our way to Italy, then drive two hours out into the Tuscan countryside to stay at the villa we’ve let for two glorious weeks.

We are praying for a suitcase that gets in under the weight limit, good weather, safe and easy travel, happy children, and relaxation.

It’s not too much to ask for, is it?

While I’m there I am going to finish knitting a shawl, hopefully knit a pair of socks, and even read a bit (The Friday Night Knitting Club, of course!). Most of it overlooking vineyards and sipping Chianti in the Tuscan countryside.

See you in two weeks!

5

Summer in the Lake District

It was definitely summer in the Lake District this past weekend, and we enjoyed some of the most beautiful British weather that we’ve been blessed with so far.  Cumbria was beautiful, from the drive to the lake to the sites we saw.  I have so much to say (again) that I’ll split the posts to avoid boring everyone with one extremely long one.

We arrived in Cumbria on Friday afternoon, and after checking in at White Cross Bay on Lake Windermere, we relaxed a bit and then went driving.  The area was gorgeous, and we were hard pressed to find a US comparison that seemed to fit.  The girls were worn out by bedtime…they even attempted to make a bed on the kitchen floor!

We were so pleased to be traveling with friends, and the girls loved heading to the marina in the morning and stomping around with Jonathan.

Of course, Erica got a bit too close to the edge for Mommy’s comfort, and I had to traipse through the water, trainers and all, to grab her.

The afternoon brought explorations, starting with Castlerigg Stone Circle on a beautiful hillside, then heading to Brougham Castle, Shap Abbey, and another henge and King Arthur’s Round Table.  Whew…we were exhausted afterwards!

Sunday was glorious, and ultimately we decided to head home after lunch to relax some before the week ahead.  We ended up going to The Smith’s Arms in Beckwithshaw for dinner, where they were having a barbecue.  So, a great end to the weekend.

All in all, we had a wonderful weekend in the Lake District, enjoyed the time with our friends before they return back to the states next week, and were able to relax a bit.

Tuscany is just around the corner!

1

A Lazy Sunday

Every once in awhile, my husband and I crave days like this.  We stay in our pajamas for most of the day, watch movies, play with the kids, read, knit, play video games, and basically just relax.  We might pick a project for the day (today we are going to work on the girls’ bedroom…there are no words to describe it), but really just take it easy.

We don’t have days like this very often.  There always seems to be so much to do.  Especially because we are living abroad, there is so much that we want to see and do.  But next weekend we are off to the Lake District, and then two weeks later to Tuscany on holiday.  Then we’re home for less than three weeks before we turn around again and head to the States.

So, a lazy day every once in awhile really seems to hit the spot.

Last week, however, we were feeling the urge to see and do.  Perhaps it was because the British weather cooperated, but we decided to make good use of our English Heritage membership, and hit a castle, an abbey, and a house and gardens.  Whew!

 Roche Abbey

Conisbrough Castle

Brodsworth Hall and Gardens

So I suppose it counteracts our lazy Sunday today that we were out and about so much last weekend.

I might try and squeeze a run in if the rain lets up a bit, though…the girls couldn’t stop laughing at my sliding experience at Brodsworth last weekend!  My hiney isn’t as tiny as it used to be!