ten thoughts on a wednesday |27|

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ten months of the year in london are d-r-e-a-m-y. like, spectacular. but january and february are pretty dang dreary. most days are super grey and the darkness (which is starting to wane, yay!) is tough. i am so excited for spots like this ^^ and so many others around the city to be bursting with blossoms!

i’m convinced that one of the best things possible to eat is: smashed up avocado mixed with a sprinkling of course seat salt, garlic powder, and cumin, plus a squeeze of lemon juice spread on a perfectly toasted slice of sourdough bread.

i’ve been thinking a lot lately about gradual progress. i’ve realized that hardly anything is instantaneous in life or in eternity - the world was created through a gradual process, christ’s atonement was performed through a gradual process, birth and death and growth and learning all usually happen through a gradual process. that’s how it’s all designed! i’m just trying to remember this whenever i feel that urgent niggle to change, to be better, to make immediate new years resolutions ;)

especially with the dreary weather, we are loving that we live so close to the v&a, science and natural history museums. i honestly don’t think i’ve ever seen moses as excited as he was the other day seeing animals in the natural history museum. he ran through the halls with outstretched arms and/or pointing fingers and making sounds of utter exultation and glee. it is so nice to have indoor space with cool stuff where little mo can scamper around to his heart’s desire.

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ian and i both enter the lottery for hamilton tickets every single day. maybe one of these days…?!

i have been soooo tired lately. it feels like some kind of cruel return of first trimester fatigue! i’m not sleeping super well at night (sometimes baby brother wakes me up - he’s an active little one!) and i kind of have to nap with moses some days. i’m trying to feed and condition my body better so i don’t feel quite as exhausted. but man, making a human - while chasing another spitfire one around! - is tiring! but holy cow i love doing both of those things so much.

one christmas present that ian gave me was two weekends all to myself - he had planned two little daddy date trips with moses! he told me i could do whatever i wanted (and even spend whatever i wanted - ha!) while they were away.  this past weekend the boys went on their first adventure, to the channel islands (jersey and guernsey). they had a pretty great time, and also some kind of wild times … which really made it a true gift to me in that ian learned a bit more about the challenges of taking care of an active toddler 24/7 ;) meanwhile, i slept in and then laid in bed watching the crown, got a pedicure and did some shopping around oxford circus, ran a bunch of errands and crossed off a bunch of things from my to-do list, and relished some alone time. all around a pretty awesome weekend!

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^^ on the plane and in the buggy on the islands! i love these two pictures so much. my heart is so full of love for my boys. ^^
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^^ ^^ i loved getting pictures texted to me from ian almost as much as i loved all the free time! ^^ ^^
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little mo just brings me so much joy everyday. i just can’t even stand how much i adore him. i have really been cherishing all my time with him lately — before i know it we will have another little boy along on all of our adventures!
some of moses’s latest:
-he’s saying more and more words. his mastered ones now are: mama, dada, baby, jesus, santa, banana, apple, cracker, cat, car, bye, rolo (the name of the dog that lives below us), bo (the name of my sister’s dog), bear, ball, and uh-oh.
-he scampers all around our flat and the sound of his pattering feet is probably my favourite sound in the world.
-he stopped breastfeeding starting with his daddy date trip. this is bittersweet for us, but it was time.
-he has now fallen down the stairs in our building twice - eek! every week there are more “bonks” and that’s just a part of our lives now with this adventurous boy!
-he is so so good at sharing. any time we ask him to share something with another kid he does it without hesitation and then goes to find another toy to bring to said kid. it is so sweet! we got a pure spirit from heaven in moses.
-the way he holds my hand, sits in my lap and rubs his heart to say i love you just melt me.

last friday we went to the temple, which was so great. it’s quiiiite a trek to get there (walk to tube to train to taxi; we left at 5:30 and got home at midnight), but it’s always worth it. we’ve been doing lots of babysitting swaps with friends that are also parents of young children, and it’s sooo great - makes childcare so much easier (mostly just waaaay less expensive!).

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i recently updated my world travel page with some of our travel plans for 2018. it’s wonderful to have some exciting (and warmer!) things to look forward to. we plan to slow our travel train down quite a bit with two kids — but also to never stop actively making travel a significant part of our life.

happy wednesday! life is beautiful!

two thousand eighteen!

a brand new year! doesn’t it feel so fresh and wonderful and bright? i’m always grateful for a reason to restart, reinvent, resolve. i’m sharing some of my resolutions here to organize them and to - in a sense - be held accountable for them. i hope i can look back on this little list in 357 days and feel some sense of triumph. life is about progress, and i really hope to make a bit in 2018!

my “word” for this year is t i m e -
i want to focus on better using each precious day that i have in my beautiful life. here’s some simple lifestyle tweaks i am hoping to make to encourage this:

  • put my phone away in my nightstand at 10pm each night
  • use my screen-time tracking app to limit time spent on my phone (i have a specific time limit)
  • use a paper planner to plan out each day the night before, hour by hour (while of course still embracing some flexibility and serendipity ;) ) and write down my short-term goals
  • have amazing mornings - to me this is defined by having the following completed before 9am: prayer, scripture study, exercise and shower/grooming
    (i also want to aim to be out of the house on an adventure with moses by 9am most mornings)
  • make a meal plan every sunday afternoon (ian and i have set aside 2-3pm as a time when we can each do some personal planning/organizing while moses naps after church)
  • ask myself this question at least five times a day: “is what i’m doing right now truly productive and the best use of my time?”
  • fill any possible “empty space” time with enriching my mind:
    >>read at least ten books this year
    >>listen to podcasts when multitasking is ideal (cleaning, cooking, etc.)
    >>learn more about photography (i have this great book my brother gave me a few years ago that i haven’t cracked, and i want to find an online course!)
  • improve my physical health (which i’ve found to be so, so linked to productivity!) by recommitting to: (1) only eating sweets on holidays; (2) challenging myself more in exercise; and (3) being diligent in my skincare routine
  • give more time - always be prepared with an answer to our nightly question: “what did you do today for others?” 
  • immediately kick any time spent comparing in the butt and get on to something more productive
  • take more video clips (every anniversary i gift ian a little video with images and clips from the year, and i’m always wishing i had more live-action material … and i think taking more video will help me to relish and appreciate time more)
  • each night, while falling asleep, meditate and visualize (i am such a believer in the power of our minds, if we will but exercise them!)
  • see each day as a precious new start

when i look at that list, it seems like a lot! but it’s really just tiny things that i believe will make a big difference. i'm easing into my resolutions, determined that gradually is the way to truly evolve into something better.

with that said … these two posts i saw on instagram really spoke to me - just sayin’ ...
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i’ll do my best ;)

what do you do to encourage better use of time in your own life! i’d love any suggestions for additions to my list (as long as they are relatively tiny things! ;) )

happy new year! 2018 is going to be an epic one.

post christmas tidbits

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we had a super chill week between christmas and new years. ian went back to work on the 27th but was able to leave significantly later in the morning and come home significantly earlier in the evening each day. we got in lots of wonderful, relaxed family time and tried to do lots of things that moses would be really excited about - we went to the transport museum, the zoo, a lantern festival, and our communal garden. ian and i had two movie nights (a huge rarity for us) and planned our upcoming babymoon trip (sans moses!) to morocco. we shopped for couches (deciding on one to buy is soooo stressful for me!) and devoted an entire day to making goals for the new year and further into the future. and i saw the nutcracker! i went by myself which was actually super fun. every once in a while it’s good to have a date with yourself :) we rounded off the week with watching london’s truly spectacular nye fireworks show (we were lucky to find a spot with a great view!).

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^^ i really enjoyed english national ballet’s production of the nutcracker at the coliseum (which is literally around the corner form our old flat!). seeing the nutcracker is one of my most beloved holiday traditions. the last two christmastimes i saw the royal ballet and it was fun to switch it up this year. i loved the pointe shoe christmas tree at the entrance of the theatre! ^^
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moses had such a blast showing his dad around the london transport museum (he and i have an annual pass and go often during the work week). i can’t believe the only pictures i took were of these cute posters in a new exhibit ^^ like i said, it was a reaaaally chill week (which means i didn’t even bother to snap many photos of most things we did!).
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we met the schwartzes at the chiswick magical lantern festival one night. i have to say, it was pretty magical - in a chintzy christmas kind of way. little mo was transfixed….especially by the noah’s ark lanterns!
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i got in a couple of good yoga sessions during that inter-holiday week. i pass the most gorgeous houses in chelsea on my walk to yoga. seeing this one ^^ decked out during both the day and the night was a delight. i hope they keep those decorations up for at least another week now :) ^^
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we had such a fun morning at the zoo. it was so uncrowded and the giraffes and penguins were totally playing with us - along with some tiny and adorable monkeys in the monkey house!
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the way they set off fireworks around and off of the london eye is so cool. this new years was one of my most memorable ever.
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and i just have to include a little tidbit from today … our washing machine broke (mid-cycle) a few days before christmas and it has been a big ordeal trying to get a new one delivered and getting laundry done in the meantime. today while our load was in the dryer at the laundromat, moses and i went down the street to the v&a museum … in christmas pjs because they were the only semi-clean clothes around!
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it was a great, relaxing end to the year. here’s to a brand new one full of promise!

christmas magic in brussels and brugge

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^^ can you spot the little mo with his favourite girlfriends on the very left of this photo? <3<3<3
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every december we like to take an especially “christmassy” trip in europe. our first year living in london, we went on an epic road trip through about a dozen christmas markets in switzerland, germany and austria, and last year we went to copenhagen for a weekend. this time around we took a quick trip under the english chanel to belgium a couple of days before christmas. we had heard the town of brugge is particularly lovely at christmastime, and planned our route there from london on the train via brussels. brugge lived up to any bit of hype, and we were surprised and blown away by the magic we found during our quick “layover" in brussels.

we came up the stairs from the subway in central brussels and were immediately wrapped up in glittering, electric christmas wonder. moses looked at us incredulously as if to say, “you mean this is where we were headed on that long train ride?? this is ammaaaaazing!” he started hollering excitedly, squealing with thrill, with his hands in the air. when we walked into the grand place (brussels’ big and stunning main square), he could hardly contain his excitement, and the same goes for us! all the buildings lit up and the big christmas tree in the middle and the festive celebrators filling the cobblestoned space - it was just amazing! pictures don’t do it justice and i can’t describe it. it just really was magic.

after dropping off our bag and the buggy at our hotel, we watched the sound and light show in the grand place. we were, all three, almost stupefied and totally enchanted by it. the buildings and tree illuminated in a dance to the music, moses danced his little heart out and ran around on the cobblestones under the night sky, and we just couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. we wandered the markets just outside the main square and got some dinner and treats and then, as we crossed back through the grand place, we saw dozens of couples waltzing around that huge christmas tree as nutcracker music filled the chilly air. of course we joined in! - holding each other close and spinning and laughing. i don’t know if I’ve ever seen moses grin quite that wide. this little moment in time quickly became one of my very most favourite family memories to date.

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^^ the buildings and trees changed a bunch of different colours during the light show! ^^
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^^ i love that, in all the christmas markets we have visited in europe, there is always a nativity scene. this one was pretty spectacular. ^^
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^^ waltzing around the christmas tree!! ^^
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the next morning we took a train to brugge … and met up with our dear friends the schwartzes! they were the ones who planted the idea of brugge at christmastime in our minds (they had been several times before in december) and we were so pumped that it worked out to meet them there! we strolled the town - around the markets, canals, chocolate shops, gorgeous decorated buildings and … horses! everywhere you look in brugge there are horse-drawn carriages - which of course only adds to the already thick charm of it all! taking a ride in one is definitely overpriced but still totally worth it in my opinion. we went for it and it was so fun. moses loved hanging out with his favourite girlfriends and we all just had a great time together. by late afternoon, just as it started getting dark, ian and mo and i had to leave brugge and the schwartzes to get back to brussels and catch our train back to london - so it was a quick trip, but so so wonderful!

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moses is at the stage right now where he just wants to walk/run around no matter where we are. it can be exhausting to chase him but it’s also so fun.
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man we love those schwartz girls … and amy and rob! they are our family here in england.
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there are a lot of chocolate shops in brugge. we went to this one ^^ and got hot coco twice! they gave us a cup full of warm milk and a stick with a cube of luscious belgian chocolate on the end. yummmmm.
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^^ cutest christmas shop windows, and this ^^ is the face moses makes when you ask him to smile, haha!
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it was a perfect christmas eve eve in brugge (and christmas eve eve eve in brussels :) )!