while on lockdown in london in may, we:
-fell further in deep, deep love with our city’s incredible parks, and felt so grateful for amazing weather (the warmest and driest may on record!).
-thoroughly enjoyed some day trip road trips (see previous post).
-increased our radius for possible outings with use of our new bike + bike trailer.
-did a lot of kids crafts.
-studied a bunch for our “life in the uk” test (which – spoiler alert! – both ian and i passed on 3 june! meaning we can apply for permanent residency and then british citizenship for our kids!).
-committed to putting in some real work to become anti-racist and raise anti-racists.
-had zoom calls for date nights with friends and i had weekly virtual podcast discussions with my sisters.
-found some new favourite spots in london and enjoyed some old beloved spots in london.
-started getting pretty weary of quarantine life, but continued to feel so grateful for physical and financial health.
in may our pretty city transitioned from wisteria to roses…
and our bike setup brought some sense of new-found freedom.
did i mention here that we bought a car? we did, an inexpensive used car; right before lockdown. we thought we were the most brilliant people ever pulling the trigger on that at a time when our normal modes of transport (bus and tube!) were unavailable! we headed out to the zoo (before it closed) pumping our fists, exulting and celebrating our new wheels. and then, forty minutes into the drive, the car started shaking and smoke started billowing out of the hood. long story short: in our rush to buy we got completely scammed by some total crooks and the car is an absolute lemon. after paying for towing fees to an autoshop and then to our street, our vehicle has sat parked outside our flat for the past couple of months. a few days ian has used it as an office space (which has worked pretty great!) and one night ian and moses had a daddy date party and sleepover in the car (complete with pizza and a movie!), which was very exciting. it’s been a big bummer, but we’ve tried to make some lemonade.
eerily empty portobello road one sunny afternoon:
gorgeous flowers and lush trees in hyde park:
more roses in notting hill:
a run around brompton cemetery:
tree climbing and easter bonnet wearing in kensington gardens:
craft wall number five!:
new tiny blooms and throwing pebbles in the pond in our garden:
gabriel at just past two – always with his stuffed lion that grammi sent him, always with crazy wispy hair. just slaying us with his cuteness:
the boys all cozy in their new common habitat – the bike trailer! they’ve got their animals, snacks, etc! on this day we biked all the way through our beloved city to and across tower bridge.
to add to the transportation bad luck, our bike got stolen, locked up with a heavy u-lock outside our flat. bah!
on the tower bridge excursion day, ian continued on with the boys to greenwich park and i biked home. i passed borough market on the way and was floored to see that it was open for business! i had to pop by the bread ahead stand for a donut and then hurried on my way to keep distance!
landmarks on the bike ride home:
the boys at greenwich park with dad, and then another day having one of their daily “parties” in the ian’s tiny bathroom home office:
spectacular roses in the rose garden section of our garden:
our rainbow in the window started to lose some pieces before too long. and ian and moses started planing some fruit and vegetables in some planter boxes on our window sills! // here’s mo’s first attempt at spelling words all by himself … he did this during quiet time – made some cards for his beloved stuffed animal “snowy owl,” and a few cards for me, too!:
flowers, bees, and gabriel’s awesome bed head in the garden:
craft wall number six!:
a close-up of one piece of moses artwork:
we had a couple of books that were falling apart at the spine, like the animal encyclopedia these photos came from, and mo has spent sooo much time cutting and pasting. he’s obsessed. i think the googly eyes are a tab touch!
hanging with my boys in the garden, trying to get in the picture more:
pretty flowers around the neighbourhood:
visiting the peacock and dipping out toes (and, occasionally, heads) in the fountain at holland park:
a lot of may felt like this painting (by my old friend and favourite artist, caitlin connolly):
scooter boys cruising through the streets of kensington:
finding “troll forests” in battersea park // and tiny daisies in the grass, one of my favourite things about england!:
london’s parks are seriously so incredible. we live in a huge, bustling metropolis, but we are not hurting for nature. in all the parks we are finding amazing corners and cubbies that completely make you feel like you’re out wide in wild nature.
a flower field in regents park and a log swing at chiswick gardens:
a trek up primrose hill for the views. isn’t ian the best??:
may brought american mother’s day! we had celebrated uk mother’s day in march as well (but it actually turned out to be a kind of horrible day with grumpy kids and some big flare up of pregnancy hormones!) – i am all about the double celebrating! all i want for mother’s day each year is a great picture of me with my kids. we took about one hundred and ended up with one pretty decent one (at the top of this post) and lots of not “picture perfect” ones (which i kind of love even more):
i absolutely adore how excited moses gets about celebrating special days. he could hardly contain his excitement in doing things for me on mother’s day. i am sooooo happy to be a mom, and to these wild, wonderful boys (and their little siblings in my belly!).
a morning at st. james’s park:
and climbing logs another morning at kensington gardens (i love that my kids never whine about not being able to go to the playground – they are all closed right now. they are so happy to play on logs, in the grass, with sticks and rocks.):
a make-shift “splash pad” in the garden on an eighty degree day:
in all three of my pregnancies, i sometimes get a sudden and intense craving for red meat (which i hardly ever eat normally) – a yummy burger. when this happened last month i got on a bike and cycled four miles to shake shack for takeaway. i sat on the curb outside and devoured that tastiness! and absolutely loved my ride there and back (eight miles in total, through hyde park and down oxford street!):
the sweetest note and picture from my little mo (“i put hearts because i love you and some yellow because it’s your favourite colour!”):
we discovered chiswick house and gardens in may – such an awesome little hidden gem with a fab rose garden, tons of woodland paths, a pretty old house, and even a waterfall!:
towards the end of may, i started to feel kind of panicky about life “normalising.”
i feel enormously privileged and grateful that our family is healthy physically and financially, and that i think i will look back on this time with a good degree of fondness. i will miss london’s streets being empty, our time-limitless crafting and exploring the city’s awesome parks, the lack of a rush out the door in the mornings, ian doing “school time” with moses in the early afternoons, the adventure of having every day and night wide open on my calendar.
one morning i was sitting in kensington gardens, in the long grass and dappled sunshine, eating raisins with my boys. i said to them, “guys, i miss our friends and our travels. but i have really loved these simple days with just you two and me.”
we rented cars for several weekends to take day trips. a couple of times we had the car for an extra day and ian would drive us somewhere in the city beyond walking distance and work in the car. one day we went to regents park, where the zoo is, and peeked in at the animals that can be seen from the gates.
on this day, moses decided he simply must wear his red suspenders with his comfy trousers 🙂
craft wall number seven!:
a new joy for the whole family: flying kites! ian got three “decorate your own” kites on amazon for six pounds and they have flown amazingly well and brought so much happiness! moses was the picture of exuberance during his first kite-flying experience at greenwich park one sunday:
the view to canary wharf from greenwich park is awesome. and isn’t ian, also? i think we’ll just strap two babies to him as well and call it good 🙂 :
more city views, these ones from hampstead heath!:
eating ice lollies in front of kensington palace after a scooter ride // lots of time spent with this book! i actually loved studying for the life in the uk test. i really love learning and studying, and it was really fun to cram a lot of new history and facts into my brain about our country of residence. :
aaaaand, craft wall number eight!:
yes, we will look back on this crazy time with quite a lot of fondness (and aren’t we sooooo so so lucky?!). now into june, i am worn out with the isolation, no breaks from childcare, relatively little change of scenery and routine, and uncertainty. but still, i am so so grateful.