Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#febphoto day 29

I am an old soul. As much as I like popular music I also really like soft rock. I don't know where it began. Maybe it is due to the fact that every Saturday morning I woke up to my dad blaring his music downstairs along with the smell of him making pancakes. Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Cat Stevens are among the ones I can remember vividly.
Pandora doesn't work here so I use iheartradio to listen to my LA music stations. Mostly this one,

I listen to stuff like,

"Open Arms" Journey
"It Must Have Been Love" Roxette
"Hotel California" Eagles
"You're my Inspiration" Chicago
"I Wanna Know What Love Is" Foreigner
"In the Air Tonight" Phil Collins
"Papa Don't Preach" Madonna
"Love is a Battlefield" Pat Benatar

so this is what I am listening to today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#febphoto day 28

"It's all about the Elizabeths, baby..."
Lame joke, sorry, but I couldn't help myself.

It took a little while to get used to using British pounds. It took 3 times as long to get used to always carrying cash on me. I never carried cash on me in the states. It's the coins that took awhile to get used to specifically.
In America, we have the penny, the 5 cent (nickel), the 10 cent (dime), the 25 cent (quarter), and then of course the dollars. In the UK, they have the penny, the 2 pence or 2p, the 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and the £1 coin, and of course the pounds. And the Queen's face is on every single one.

British slang when it comes to money.

A tenner - £10
A fiver - £5
A oner - £1

"quid" = similar to Americans saying "buck"
ie: "I spent almost 60 quid on 2 turkeys for Thanksgiving!"
     "I spent almost 60 bucks on 2 turkeys for Thanksgiving!"

True story by the way.

Monday, February 27, 2012

#febphoto day 27

I was completely unsuccessful in taking a picture of what I ate today. Can I cheat one more time and show you this?

Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes

We did have pancakes today, but I found this recipe on Pinterest that I am dying to try next time. Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#febphoto day 26

I was lazy and didn't take a picture for today. To be honest, I wasn't feeling up to being creative with today's challenge of "night". I just envisioned myself taking a picture of black. So I'm cheating for today and I am going to use previous pictures I have taken of my little Natalie.

Many of you might be familiar with this post I did of Marisa when she started weening out naps at barely over 2 years old. Natalie was/is not as good of a sleeper as Marisa was/is, but weening off of naps at barely over 2 years old is still a huge adjustment.
Although she wouldn't fall asleep just anywhere like Marisa, I was able to get her to sleep on the days she needed it only by sitting her in front of the TV. There were very few moments where she just feel asleep anywhere on her own. So here is Natalie's version of "night- night" times the past several months.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#febphoto day 24

Inside my bathroom cabinet.
With small, very expensive flats/homes, storage space is basically non-existant or at least extremely limited. I have a pretty big kitchen by London standards and the storage space is barely enough for the absolute essentials for a kitchen. I have a hallway storage closet that is pretty small too but I'm so grateful we have it because I have no idea where I would put the things I have stuffed in there.
The bathroom is the most different place not to have any storage space/cabinets. In typical European fashion you put all your bathroom essentials on top of ledges.

You have no idea what this does to my OCDness. I like things clean and well organized. Not out in the open. How tacky looking is that? Oh well, it is what it is.

Another British thing that you might find interesting is that there are no outlets in bathrooms. Zero. I know, right? The only "outlet" is this.

We don't ever use it. So where do I blow dry my hair and do my hair? In the hallway, of course! (How does that make any sense and how annoying is that?) This is where I get ready.

I get ready in the hallway, right in front of our front door. The door you see above is the door to our storage closet. The front door is on the right opposite of the wall.
Pretty different, huh?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#febphoto day 23

I cannot believe this weather! It was actually way too hot to wear these boots or my coat.

Today is day 2 of spending as much time outside as possible. Today whilst the girls played I sat on the park bench and soaked in the sun's rays. It felt so good. I feel CA calling...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#febphoto day 22

I think I have the best job in the world. I really do. I feel bad sometimes for Tim who has to have a job in the corporate world while I get to stay home for my work.
I work in my own home being a stay at home mother of two cuties. I feel so lucky and blessed that I get to do so and very grateful for my husband who provides a lifestyle for us where I can.
My work is pretty darn cute too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#febphoto day 21

I absolutely hate pictures of me. Hate it. I have always been this way and I have always known that I am not a photogenic person. I would much rather have someone meet me face to face to judge what I look like than looking at a photo of me.
So for today's challenge, this is my fav photo of me.

I love this photo of us. I have the most darling girls.
And I have not liked a single picture of me since then; Dec 2010.

I know I need to get over this and I know I need to take more pictures of me for my posterity's sake. I don't want my kids to grow up and look back at all our family pictures and never see me. Although I prefer being behind the camera, I think I am going to make it a goal and more of an effort from here on out to be in pictures more. We will see how this goes!

Monday, February 20, 2012

#febphoto day 20

Marisa has been practising writing her lowercase letters. She always writes in all capitols and her nursery teachers said she should start practising writing with lowercase letters. I'm not worried. It will come in due time, but we are practising in the meantime.


On the right is a picture she drew of me. It is the most detailed drawing of a person she has done yet. I was quite impressed! I even have heels on and everything! My daughter knows me.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

#febphoto day 19

I don't mean for yesterday's post and today's post to be bashing London posts, because they aren't. This all just comes with the territory of living in a foreign land. It is all part of the experience and part of the experience that I wanted and wouldn't trade for the world.

With that said, doing laundry in the UK is something I hate to do. You. have. no. idea. Ok, some of you do. And those of you that do, can I get an AMEN SISTA! Doing laundry bites over here.

This is a washer AND dryer in one. It blows. It is really small and if I want to dry something I have to pick 1, maybe 2, items to throw in and dry them for almost 2 hours. I'm not kidding when I say that laundry takes all day long.
So those of you who have lived in Europe before are very familiar with this drying rack...

I took this picture when we first moved here. This is how I dry my clothes. The end result is stiff dry clothes with creases from drying on the rack with a slight mildew smell. The mildew smell is from constantly having to air dry them and from the inside of the washer/dryer where my clothes get wet and barely dry in the exact same area. Wet + slight warm air = mildew smell. We plan on throwing out a lot of our clothes when we move back to the states.

Mark my words: "I will never complain about doing laundry again in the states."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

#febphoto day 18

One of the many culture shocks when first moving here was grocery shopping. Not only did I have to learn the names of different grocery stores, learn the different names for items, learn how much British pounds can get me at the store, learn different measurements, learn what items are worth buying for and what items I like, learn how to do all my grocery shopping online, (which is the best thing ever invented by the way) but I also had to learn how to bag my own groceries. Yes, you read that right.

Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture?

Answer: First, all the cashiers sit. At first, I was like, oh weird, but whatever, right? Why should they have to stand all day?
Second, and most importantly, no one is waiting at the end of the check-out lane to bag your groceries! Why? Because you have to do it yourself! Not even the lady sitting at the register helps. Not one bit. It was the weirdest experience when I first learned while standing by the counter that I had to do it myself.

This has been quite the shock. Although I do online shopping and delivery the absolute majority of the time, occasionally I do need to go to the store for those items "I forgot", or that "I need more of", or that "I got the wrong thing of", etc. You all know what I am talking about.

Taking kids to the grocery store is a feat in of itself, but grocery shopping with kids here is one step behind mission impossible.
Imagine taking a 4 year old and a 2 year old to a store where there are no such things as shopping carts, or trolleys, as they say here. If they do have a trolley it is not a big deep one. If they do have a big deep one it definitely does not have a seat for a child to sit in. So I have to use my buggy as my shopping cart instead, (I have a single Maclaren which is a fancy umbrella stroller. Not big at all.), with my two year old in it, carry a wire basket in one hand, and have my 4 year old follow me through a busy crowded store.

When I make it to the check out counter I now have to unload the food from every nook and cranny in my buggy, unload the heavy wire basket, pay for my food, and bag all the food, all by myself. Also, I now have my two kids trying to get my attention for whatever reason; crying, hungry, I don't know, and have impatient city folk waiting and queuing up behind me. Oh yeah, ALL the while the cashier sits in her chair and just watches me. Winning.

I was fully aware before moving here about European customer service, but honestly, would it be such an inconvenience to help a mother out? To reach out your hand while you sit on your arse and put in a few items in a bag? Heaven forbid I ask you to do something outside of your job description! Ugh.

To be fair, I have had a small few, less than a handful, of cashiers either help me out or tell me to not worry and take my time. I am SO grateful for those gracious people when they give you a look of understanding and a look like "Everyone behind you CAN wait."

Needless to say, I or just Tim, only go to the store completely sans kids, or I go with kids AND with Tim for help, or I only pop in to the store to literally get 1-2 things max with the girls. But I hardly do any of these.

I certainly love the online shopping and delivery to my counter business here. LOVE it. I don't know what I would do without it. They definitely have that right here. LOVE!

My dad always asks me what food items I am going to miss when I move back to the states. At first, my answer was, "Nothing." But that has quickly changed. One of the things I know for sure I will miss is this drink.

Best brand for juices. I have never tasted anything more pure and tasty as their juices and smoothies. (I dare even say it is probably better than Trader Joes or Naked juice! Eek! I just said that!)

More British terminology:
OJ with pulp = OJ with bits
OJ with no pulp = OJ smooth

For kicks, I always wonder what people would say if I told them, "In America, there is someone waiting at the end of the check-out lane to bag all your food for you, (paper or plastic?), put it all in your shopping cart, AND take it all out to your car AND put it in the trunk of your car!"

God Bless America.

Friday, February 17, 2012

#febphoto day 17

Time seems to be the million dollar focus right now.
I'm anxiously awaiting for busy season to end. First, to see my husband of course. Second, it means spring is around the corner. Third, which means the fun begins again. We will have our first visitors from back home (aside from family) and then right after that we literally have back to back holidays planned all the way through end of August. I can't wait for time to pass by right now! Time is going by so slow, yet so fast. It is already the end of Feb! Come on, come on!
I can feel springtime around the corner...
Greenwich Park is looking even more fantastic for Olympic time...
And military time is second nature.

And just for fun, this is Natalie putting herself in time-out a few days ago after hitting her sister. haha
She totally had this look on her face before she turned around to face the corner like, "I would rather put myself here than hear a lecture from you."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#febphoto day 16

Last week our school lessons for the week came from the book, The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills. I wanted Marisa to have a hands on application of the book so I asked my friend Jana, who is a seamstres for a living, to come and give her a basic sewing lesson/project this past Monday.
Jana had the clever idea once she got here to make pillows and sleeping bags for Marisa's barbies. Marisa's face lit up when she told her what they were going to make!
We used Jana's small toy sewing machine, grabbed an old pair of Marisa's jeans, and cut and sewed.

Marisa could not get enough of the sewing machine! She was so focused and so eager and excited to see the final product. The project gave her a huge boost of confidence as she got to create and see something that she made come to a fun final product. Jana did a really great job letting my little 4 year old have full control and only intervening when necessary. It really helped allow Marisa to feel like she made it all by herself.

something new...

Now Marisa is begging me for sewing lessons...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#febphoto day 15

Fact: I cannot live without my iphone.

Trust me, I have actually had to live without it for a few months when my first was stolen. Once I got my new one my world became in order again and it felt...gOOd.

My phone literally has everything I need to function properly:
calendar - aka "my life"
facetime with all my family/friends back home
apps to keep my children busy at all those "you must be still and quiet" moments
AND we must not forget google maps. A MUST when living in a strange foreign land.

The list is endless. With the internet at the tips of my fingers I have the whole world in my hands and I love it.

Does anyone else feel the same way I do about my iphone?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#febphoto day 14

I heart Valentine's Day! Aside from Christmas, Valentines' Day is my next fav holiday.
Loads of pink, red, flowers, love songs, hearts, candy, love notes, what's not to love?

I started off this morning by making a big Valentine's Day breakfast for the loves of my life along with exchanging love notes and gifts.

But we mustn't forget the pink milk! I actually found pink Nesquick here! The girls thought it was awesome.

With Tim being so busy I wasn't sure if I was going to see him at all today but luckily he was able to meet us up for dinner AND manage to surprise us by not going back to work afterwards!

The girls were so excited when we were all getting ready for our "date" with dad. Natalie was so cute while I was doing her hair. She said, "We have to get ready...for the restaurant...with Dad!"

The girls have always been pretty well-behaved when going out to eat, but they have become way better since moving in a country where kids behave really, really well in restaurants. Natalie specifically has come a long way.

Cutting with a knife and fork! Yes, folks, we are all witnessing a monumental moment. I never taught her to do this.
Marisa also said something cute during dinner. When I told our waiter that "the girls will have a strawberry sundae" Marisa with concern looks at Tim and says, "I don't want a strawberry Sunday! I want a strawberry Tuesday!" (Today is Tuesday. She didn't want to wait until Sunday to have her treat. haha)

On the way home, Tim pulls out more of his fun, sweet surprises for the girls in his life.
One of the things I loved about Tim when we first met was his nerdyness. It's true. He has some quirky sides to him and it makes me laugh every time. I love it. When Tim proposed to me it was truly unique and done in a complete Tim fashion. To give you a little bit of insight part of it had to do with him pulling out a rose, a bottle of juice, a candy bar, and the engagement ring all from his jacket. All the while I had no idea he had that all on him! So in lieu of that, Tim pulls the same Houdini trick on the girls tonight. He slowly starts to pull out two big happy faced Hotel Chocolate lollipops from his jacket. haha The girls began jumping up and down in delight. It was cute.

For me my love did get me a bar of Hotel Chocolat from his jacket too. :) (And I forgot to mention that on my birthday date night Tim managed to pull out my fav red velvet cupcake.) And I'm not kidding. Hotel Chocolat is THE BEST CHOCOLATE EVER. Hands down. And I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Happy Valentine's Day! I hope yours was as sweet as mine!

Monday, February 13, 2012

#febphoto day 13

Brits are right. American chocolate is rubbish.

I did not like chocolate as a kid/teenager/even as a young adult. I remember people thinking I was crazy. It wasn't until I became pregnant with Marisa where I began to like it. And with my second pregnancy the like turned to love.
Now, especially after moving to Europe, it is a full blown MUST NEED every day.

I'm not kidding when I say that Tim brings home chocolate every day for me or at least makes sure I am stocked up in the house. I'm not kidding when I say that one weekend I was searching for chocolate to eat when I realized that Tim had eaten the last bit and I gave him the death look. I'm not kidding when I say that I began to have anxiety, Tim and I start laughing, and then Tim immediately went to the store for me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

#febphoto day 12

During a short weekend trip to San Diego with our friends we got to reminiscing with them of when Tim and I first started dating. They remember having asked Tim, "So what's she like?" Tim's response, which I had learned for the first time on that trip was, "She likes to shop."
What?? Really?? THAT is the first thing you tell people about me?
I'm not denying that I don't like to shop, but you could have at least said something a little more ... impressive!

Yes, I like to shop and I have a natural taste for expensive things. I blame genetics? On pinterest I have a board titled, "My Closet" which has been brillant for me because I basically play pretend.
Today's feb photo a day challenge is "inside my closet". This is what I wish was inside my closet.

It is my dream wardrobe. If I were to have whatever I wanted, this would all be it. Here are a few of my recent absolute loves.

Sadly, I don't have these items in my closet. But I do have this 2 year old monster in my closet instead. She's pretty darn cute. I'll keep her.


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