end of summer in london

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i’m feeling kind of giddy right now because i am now soooo close to being caught up on blogging! i have felt buried under a mountain of photos since i took an undesired break from documenting online when changing blogging platforms. and i’m about to come up for air, hooray! ian started his new job the morning after we got back from san marino, and just to keep things interesting we headed out on a roadtrip to cornwall that weekend. ha! we were all pretty excited to stay put after a summer full of travel, but my brother and his family decided to come to europe kind of last minute and we definitely couldn’t pass up having an adventure with them while they were on this side of the pond. so… i have one more travel-y post coming with photos from beautiful cornwall (we had such a fun weekend and the weather was phenomenal) but after that post and this post i am basically caught up! woot woot! this blog will finally live up a little more to its name. and i’ll be able to work on design and get back to posting more thoughtful things and not just travel-logs 🙂

this post is a dump of pictures from the rest of the summer days that we spent in london after we got back from our trip to the states. i’m counting all the way up until this week as summer, because moses just started school this week (that’s another upcoming post)! the first day of school is the last possible day i can officially count as summertime 😉 so here’s all the in-between good stuff from august and into september.

we had some pretty weird jet-laggy days after we first got back from the states. we tried to fill our mornings and afternoons with outings to some of our favourite london haunts. (can you spot moses climbing the fence around the prince albert memorial? ha! he loves going to see the animal statues on the four corners of the memorial.)
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we were back to gorgeous flower boxes in our neighbourhood while my parents were back in utah celebrating their actual fiftieth anniversary. love them so much and had to grab a screenshot of this fabulous instagram post:
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we went to the princess diana fountain and spent time in hyde park, which is so lush in the summer, just heavy with green.
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we had a really fun date night to see the “van gogh in britain” exhibit at the tate britain. van gogh is my favourite artist of all time, so i relished this. after taking in the art, we walked along the river past the houses of parliament to westminster station. we love london so much.
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one morning we went to a little city farm in vauxhall, south of the thames. moses got to feed sheep and alpacas and gabriel loved the chickens. our hearts melted when the boys held hands as we left, and we shared a chocolate ice cream cone when we spotted an ice cream truck on the way home!
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pretty summer days in our neighborhood:
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snoozing and chilling in the buggy:
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the saturday before ian went back to work, we went on a special birthday date (ian turned thirty five just a few days after he started his new job). we went to see a magic show in the west end! this was ian’s request – i wasn’t too excited about seeing magicians, but i have to say it was prettttty cool.
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ian spent some time with the boys working on their “playhouse” – converting the tiny closest space under the stairs of our building into a fun little secret hideaway. and then we waved goodbye to gardening leave and the fifteenth of august was ian’s first day at his new job!
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it was busy, busy and he missed seeing the boys before bed. so he snuck in to give them a little cuddle:
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after a summer of being all together everyday, the boys really missed ian a lot when he went back to work!
we started potty training the day ian started his new job. it was a really wild few days, but mo did really well! we were cooped up inside for a while and did all kinds of activities, new and old, between rushes to the toilet. moses did a lot of lining up his “buyed animals” (he bought them with his own money and therefore calls them that!) on the rug.
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ian’s actual birthday came on 20 august, and we had a simple celebration at home after work. making a cake was a great stuck-at-home-potty-training activity and mo took it very seriously, making sure his dad had the best cake ever! we tried to make daddy’s day special and wow do we love him a lot!!!
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summer flowers in our beloved, beautiful city:
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the boys and i spent a day at kew gardens. we chose to get an annual pass a few months ago, and i’m so glad we did! the indoor play area and the playground are amazing, as is the seemingly endless space to just run and play! on this trip to kew moses was really into creating a “collection” of bark, interesting rocks, feathers, acorns … anything he could find under the trees or in the grass!
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and we got to admire the chihuly glass sculptures that are scattered around the gardens right now…
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it started to feel a little autumn-y in our garden – lots of crunchy leaves on the ground … and uncle hyrum (ian’s oldest brother) came through london on his way home from a conference in vienna. so fun to spend some time with him!
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here’s some pictures of gabriel at the playground. this kid kills me with cuteness!
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moses was inspired by his cousin dean, who is an incredible tree climber at four years old, when my brother and his family came to visit. now mo is really into climbing trees in our garden. and how about this brother-swing-sharing situation?! ❤
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one day we discovered this church yard and back street with cool mural right around an area that we are often in running errands…
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…and isn’t this ice cream truck by the italian gardens in hyde park just the cutest?!
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pretty flower-boxed entries around kensington:
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afternoons spent in kensington gardens and at the natural history museum:
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some “before” photos as we waited for the haircut place to open … didn’t snap any “after” photos! moses did amazing, as usual (he’s so good at haircuts!) and gabriel screamed pretty much the entire time…
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strolling around holland park:
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one day just last week i took the boys out to writtle, a little village just 22 minutes by train from liverpool street station, where our dear family friends the schwartzes live. amy (the mom of the family) is like a sister to me, and has been my whole life, and it was soo fun to catch up with her while gabriel napped and moses jumped on her trampoline and picked blackberries in her back garden … and carried her adorable dog bunny around.
(on the train ride out there, moses spotted the slide that ian and i went on a few months back!)
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we got to go with amy on her school pickup run, to collect three of her daughters (her eldest is now at university in america!). then mila took elsa and moses for a ride in the box bike! writtle feels like a perfect little oasis of english countryside and i always love being there with the schwartzes.
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when i asked ian what he wanted for his birthday, he said “a chutes and ladders game, some pop-up soccer goals for the garden, and a bounce house.” ha! i love that he just wants fun things to do with his sons. last week the bounce house came in the mail and ian set it all up and it was a hit! // we went to a birthday party for a cute little one-year-old pal and they had the most amazing face painter there. moses immediately asked her, “what wild animals can you do?” he was pretty delighted with a zebra!
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i also want to remember that we had such a fun saturday when we went to hampstead heath and swam in the bathing pool there. we had so much fun that we didn’t snap a single picture! we went with three other families, traded off watching the kids while others were jumping into the freezing cold water, and then all went and played at a big playground at the bottom of parliament hill (the top of which affords amazing views of the london skyline!). it was one of happiest days ever.
this past sunday at church:
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this weekend moses asked me if i could show him a picture of me when i was three. i pulled down a special book my mom made for me from the bookshelf and found this photo of my joy school graduation: (and also here’s another pretty picture of roses in holland park…)
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it was perfect timing to stumble across that photo, because the next day was moses’s own joy school graduation! we had a mid-year graduation back in march because a few of our little friends only did the first semester of joy school, and then we had our final graduation this past sunday. we gathered in our friends’ garden and it was sooo fun to have all these pals together again. all but one have now started in nursery or primary school. i cannot emphasize enough or too frequently what a huge blessing joy school has been for us, and the other moms in our group have expressed similar sentiments. we are most grateful for the friendships that have grown as this group of families has done this together. love these kids and their parents dearly!!
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i got to do a little review of the joys we learned about this past year.
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then we stood to sing “oh boy i’ve got joy” and then had a little ceremony with hats and diplomas 😉
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and that brings us to moses’s first day of school this past monday!
summer 2019 was certainly one for the books!!!

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  1. One of my all-time favorite birthday gifts was a wooden playhouse for our backyard – 10 or so years ago! I’m refurbishing it this fall.

    I’m always torn between nostalgia and shuddering when you mention Joy School. I did it 38 years ago, in Belleville, Ill (across from St. Louis). I had two kids in the group, so did double turns teaching, and had a new baby the 2nd year. I still keep in touch with several of the moms from back then . . . but I swore I’d never do it again. I didn’t – Number 3 and 4 had more traditional experiences, like Mother’s Day Out at the Baptist Church!!


  2. what beautiful photos of your boys growing and playing! Looks like the memorial fountain for Princess Diana filled with happy children of all sorts is so lovely. What a great way to honor her!


  3. One of the good things of living in Europe is that fall starts with coloured leaves. Every year, I shudder when Shawni writes that summer is over because school starts and I haven’t even been on my summer vacation. 😉
    So yes, summer is definitely until beginning of September!

    When you change the design of the blog, I’d like to have a feature to see whether there are any comments on a post while on the main page. Sometimes I like to read the comments and it would be easier that way without having to scroll.


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