Saturday, March 31, 2012

"the loveliest castle in the world"

Tim collects a lot of different kinds of world travel books. The numbers of books has increased greatly since moving to Europe. One of the books he has claims that Leeds Castle is "The Loveliest Castle in the World". And for that very reason we went to check it out. (Plus, the website totally claims that title.)

Compared to other castles I have seen it is not one of the top ones. The title should be "The Loveliest Castle Grounds in the World". Even on another gray English day it was beautiful.
It was refreshing to fill our city lungs with fresh country air, hear the natural sounds of nature and wildlife, and see sheep running in the distance. It was a much needed jailbreak for the girls to run with complete freedom and no worries. When we ate lunch we had 6 big peacocks hovering around our table. A much more beautiful sight than the usual pigeons, but beware, these peacocks were not shy to snatch some BBQ crisps!

After viewing the grounds and the castle, we headed toward the maze. It was much better and trickier than the famous maze at Hampton Court. We got so lost. The only way we got to the centre was by me following strangers who had family already in the centre directing them where to go from above. I know, we totally cheated but we were seriously lost for awhile.

With two big Medieval themed playgrounds and a cute train ride back to our car I think the girls would agree that it was another successful weekend.
(Plus, it is General Conference weekend! You should tune in!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

ballet school

With my camera and my iphone both in hand I officially became the mommarazzi this afternoon.
Today was Marisa's last day of ballet class for this term and all family members were invited to come and sit in for the class. I was obviously beyond excited trying to capture every little thing with both of my recording devices. I was quite the sight.

Smiley feet, teacup hands...I can hardly stand all the cuteness. But I'm glad that besides the class being cute and super fun for Marisa, her teacher really does an amazing job teaching proper technique and will be hard on the girls when necessary. I really, really like that. My favourite dance teachers growing up where the hardest ones on me.

Technique wise Marisa was the best, flexibility wise the worst. Now I know what we need to work on at home! Marisa looks forward to ballet every week, she jumps for joy even thinking about ballet class. Next term it is ballet and tap! I can't even wait!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Watching each of your children's personalities, likes and dislikes, quirks and talents come out as they grow older is quite fascinating. Even with two daughters close in age, mine are worlds apart.
Marisa has never had an opinion about what she wears and will willingly obey when I tell her what to wear except for a few rare occasion recently. Natalie has her own agenda. She cares. Even when she plays dress up she is particular.

Her love and imagination for fashion is darling. She changes outifts probably at least 3 times a day and does the same for her barbie dolls. She prefers to sleep with bracelets and necklaces (which I don't allow) than a stuffed animal. She likes jewels and anything that is shiny and resembles diamonds. Yeah....

And for journaling purposes...
  • flamee - family
  • teen - team
  • strawberry cork cake - strawberry short cake
  • scritch - scratch
  • member? - remember?
  • First thing Natalie said when climbing into our bed one morning, "My batteries in my tummy hurt."

Sunday, March 25, 2012


For the past week Tim has had a car for work and will continue to have the car for the next 2 weeks. So this means... fun weekend day trips planned for us! Wahoo!

Yesterday we went down to see The White Cliffs of Dover. Besides it being one of the many things we have wanted to see in England, part of Marisa's curriculum a few weeks ago we read a book called The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provensen, which is a book about a real life event of Papa Bleriot flying the first airplane across the English Channel in 1909. He flew from France to The White Cliffs Dover! And boy was Marisa SO excited when we told her where we were going!

We literally walked all along the cliffs for a good 2 miles toward the South Foreland Lighthouse. It was a beautiful walk/hike (although I had many mini heartaches along the way. I just kept envisioning me or one of the girls plummeting to our deaths!)

Once we arrived to the lighthouse we noticed a little store that had free kites for people to fly. Perfect! While Marisa and Tim were off in the distance flying a kite, Natalie running her little 2 year old energy off, I laid myself down on the grass still holding Natalie's kite, looked straight up into the sky to soak in the sun's rays, and thought, "Wow. We are flying kites over The White Cliffs Dover." It was certainly another bottle-this-up moment.

Once we were ready to trek back the 2 miles again we quickly stopped at the edge to take a picture. It was freaky but these pictures make it freakier! And yes, that is my cute little family on the other side!
It was such a fun day. Already looking forward to next weekend!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mothering Sunday

Mother, I love you; mother, I do.
Father in Heaven has sent me to you.
When I am near you, I love to hear you
Singing so softly that you love me too.

Mother, I love you; mother I do.
I want to help you because I love you.
I want to mind you; I want to find you
Happy and smiling because I love you.
Mother, I love you; I love you, I do.

"Mother, I love you" Children's songbook #207

This is the song Marisa sang to me at church this morning in front of me and our congregation. I cried, of course. There is nothing greater I get to do than to be a mother of the two most precious girls. And there is nothing greater than having my eldest child come back to me with a big hug and smile on her face after singing and telling me in my ear, "I love you, Mom."

Happy Mother's day to all the UK mums!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I'm just going to put it all out there...

I am still not pregnant.

It is a no surprise to you all that I am a major planner in all areas of my life. And yes, I even plan the exact month I would like my children to born in!
We have been trying for baby #3 for awhile now and it has been quite the rocker to MY plans that it hasn't happened yet. But obviously, I think Heavenly Father has a different plan for me, for us right now. Or there is at least some bigger picture I need to have faith in.

With both of my girls I conceived in the 2nd month of trying. Easy, right? Why would the third time around be any different?
After the 2nd month of trying to get pregnant and getting a negative result I kinda got a little puzzled but I thought, "Oh well, for sure the 3rd month I will be pregnant." Almost certain I was pregnant, I was shocked when yet again, I got another negative. How did it not happen? I honestly grew rather frustrated and kinda sad. Like any woman, day after day I daydreamed of yet another little one in my arms. Another baby to love, another baby to name, another baby to feel growing inside me, another unique child to our little family. And to have it not come when "planned" was hard to swallow.

The 4th month was the hardest. I was pretty devastated. I walked out of the bathroom, walked into Tim's arms and cried. I cried pretty hard and for awhile. Just devastated. I just want a baby!
Once Tim left for work, the doubts and fears and irrational thoughts of feeling failure quickly set in. I immediately googled everything that could be wrong with me, with us. Will I ever have another child? Is this really it? Am I done with this stage of life? Do I have secondary infertility? My kids are going to be so far apart! I should have tried conceiving sooner! etc. etc.

Now, I have many friends and family members who have tried anywhere from months to years to conceive with no luck, or with later luck. I have friends who have successfully adopted, and even have friends who are currently in the process of IVF! I am in no way, taking away the pain or spotlight from their struggles. I know I really don't have room to complain. I'm fully aware that my thoughts are crazy and in the grand scheme of things what really is a few months in trying?? But I think the desire of wanting children, expanding your family, having that complete joy of a positive pregnancy test is the same for everyone, no matter how long you wait for it.

So for me, it has been easy to get pregnant. I have been very blessed. I know that. But to say that I am not sad about going on half a year already trying to conceive is not fair to me either. Everyone has their own personal struggles.

So here I am with no success on the 5th month and trying to look forward to the 6th month. Am I sad? Most certainly. But after much prayer, and amazing support from my hubby and close friends, I have learned to put full trust in the Lord with this matter and have faith that he knows the bigger picture. Whatever that picture is.
I really have full comfort in that.
Tim and I have learned a lot in this process so far as well. We have learned to appreciate our own girls even that much more. It's not that we didn't before, it's just that we really see that bringing a child into this life really is nothing less than a miracle! What precious gifts we have already. Gifts sent straight from heaven into our home, into our hearts. What a beautiful miracle it is to be a mother. What a beautiful plan God has set forth for me and what a beautiful divine responsibility He has given me as co-creator with Him. I look forward to adding another little laughter, another little smile into our family whenever that time is right...


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