a-little-less locked-down london life lately

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london is sloooowly, slowly coming out of lockdown. we will see what happens as things continue to open up. we are continuing to try to be really careful and wise – to protect our own health but even moreso to try to do our part in protecting our human family. here’s some photos of what we were up to throughout june!

a sunday morning walk discovering new corners of hyde park:
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lots of swinging in our garden (and the boys discovering the joy of gabriel being pushed in the swing by mo!):
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we’ve been renting cars most weekends, to get out of the city and explore a bit. one saturday we went to wendover woods to check out the gruffalo trail:
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(the gruffalo is a classic, beloved british children’s book … the boys looooved seeing their favourite characters from it around the woods!)
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and then went strawberry picking and a lovely farm near oxford:
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and then took a country walk in the chiltern hills. it was soooo windy and both boys got to fly their kite with that glorious backdrop!
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a sunday afternoon visiting the deer at richmond park:
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after driving down to westminster to take our traditional yearly photo with big ben. look how still the thames is…!
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this year’s photo, featuring an almost unrecognizable big ben and our masks:
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our five big ben photos, showing the evolution of our family over the past five years in london! i kind of love how each photo gets less and less picture-perfect 😉 what will the picture filling that last white rectangle look like next year, with our kid count doubled??
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tree climbing (gabriel so proud of himself!) and baby bumpin’ (here at nineteen weeks):
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on 10 june, we found out we’ve got one of each – a boy and a girl!
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we had the ultrasound tech write the genders down and put the paper in a sealed envelope. we had ordered four confetti poppers, two in pink and two in blue, and had them sent to our neighbour. when she saw what was inside the envelope, she told us which poppers to set off so we could find out together as a family in a fun way. the picture above is actually a reenactment because on our attempt to capture the reveal with a self-timer, ian couldn’t get his popper to go off! i love our faces in these photos from the first go – me so excited to see pink and moses and ian working so hard to get that other popper opened, haha! (since we are having one boy and one girl, we had an extra set of poppers on hand so we could do it all over again for a photo, and just for extra fun 😉 )
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the clean up wasn’t quite as fun as the set-offs, ha! ian had the brilliant idea of wrapping the boys up in duct tape and having them roll around in the grass to pick up the confetti pieces. moses loved it!
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craft wall number nine!
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i cannot get over these hydrangeas that we pass most days when we are out and about (they are on the way to the park!). sooo gorgeous. // i forgot to include this picture in the post about my birthday. the boys, moses especially, were so excited first thing in the morning about giving me presents. they had picked out a stuffed sloth (my favourite animal) and a yellow tablecloth (my favourite colour). it was so sweet.
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a sunday flying kites at hampstead heath:
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and breaking in some new caps to cover up mo and gabey’s bald heads after their extreme haircuts (see post here).
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someone send me these beeeeautiful flowers with an anonymous note of thanks and encouragement. it was so incredibly touched! and here’s mo hanging “like a sloth” in our garden 🙂
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we have some good friends that live a five minute walk away, and they went to the states for a few months. they gave us their keys and invited us to use their flat whenever we wanted while they are away. this has been such a huge blessing for us! ian goes there every day to work, and the boys and i go there many days to play! it’s so exciting to have new toys, books, crafts, etc to explore. finding the costume drawer was an awesome discovery.
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we scoot there and back and it’s a beautiful little jaunt through our neighbourhood.
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a few weeks ago, the lockdown eased a little and we were told we could meet up with up to six people outdoors. it was sooooo incredibly exciting to see friends! it was seriously amazed at how significantly a few play dates brightened our spirits. we’ve had a few sunday picnics with one other family (as the restrictions have continued to ease gradually), and ian was also pretty bowled over by how wonderful that felt.
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a few days after moses’s favourite place on earth reopened, we headed there! whipsnade zoo!!
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sooo fun to visit the animals, and enjoy the pretty views…
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and get ice cream!
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we had a great fathers’ day celebrating ian. when i married ian i knew he would be a super dad, but he has exceeded my high expectations ten fold. i’ve never encountered a dad who adores his children more. every night after he checks on the boys sleeping in their beds he wants to just talk to me about how awesome they are for a while. he is always striving to be better and he is sooo beloved by these little boys.
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i dug up some old photos of me with my dad for a book my sister was putting together for him. man do i feel lucky to have this extraordinary man as my father.
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ian’s grandmother sent me a birthday card that included this little typewritten note about twins. the last line made me cry! so so sweet. // around town in the buggy and mo with a mask on (masks are encouraged at most indoor places here in england, but are not common or actively recommended outdoors):
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when i saw a friend’s photos of a wildflower field at gunnersby park in west london, i about died! i think heaven must be endless wildflower meadows. as soon as we could, we took a family excursion to check it out. and it was indeed heavenly!
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towards the end of june, moses went back to nursery school!! schools opened just for a few grades, and with a different set-up to try to maintain social distancing (pods of just three kids rotating between stations, no free play, etc.). i wasn’t sure how moses would respond after three months of no school and with things operating differently. on his first day back he was a bit shy going in, but he was beaming coming out. he has loved every second and it has seriously made a difference in his countenance, his behaviour and his moods. we are so glad he was able to finish off the year with a few weeks back with his cute friends and awesome teachers.
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one big switch in school is that with the new schedule moses had lunch at school each day. he was thrilled to bring a sack lunch each day; he just thought that was the coolest thing ever.
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we had a heat wave in london at the end of june. most of our beloved splash pads/ paddling areas are still closed, but we hunted down a few places where we could get wet and cool off! one day we went to battersea park fountains (where there was a full-on beach party, despite the fountains being pretty dirty!):
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we got ice cream from the ice cream truck and both kids totally sacked out on the way home after so much fun, sun and splashing!
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and a couple days later we biked to some fountains outside the mall in west london. lots of summer fun.
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more tree climbing, and the night i got tired of waiting for a proper haircut and asked ian to cut my hair. he did pretty well!
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one windy, rainy saturday we had a random day out first at a park on the city outskirts, then at box hill in surrey (where our attempt at a family selfie in the wind was pretty hilarious):
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and then at the rocky beach at brighton, where it was seriously so windy we thought we’d for sure blow away into the big waves!:
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another day ian took the day off to take the boys on an adventure so that i could have a day to get things organised, rest a bit, and start doing different preparations for the twins. this was so great for everyone! the three boys went to a part of the countryside dubbed “the hundred acre wood” and mo came back obsessed with winnie the pooh.
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and here’s craft wall number ten!
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we decided to cancel our trip to the states this summer, and that choice has been pretty heartbreaking for me. but we’ve now had a fun start to july here in london and are planning a last-minute and very cautious road trip to france to meet up with my brother and his family so we get in at least a tiny bit of family time before our twins arrive. things are improving quite materially here in europe, and we are hoping that that trend continues. it sure is a wild time to be alive!

5 comments

  1. It is so odd to me to see people meeting other people again. I’m not judging it! I guess it’s just so odd, since we’re still very much under self ordered isolation.

    How do you choose whom to meet? Is it just upon sympathy or do you have other criterias?
    Do all kids have to wear masks? Over here, it’s voluntary for kids under six. I don’t understand the logic, but I’m glad; it would be an immense struggle with my son.

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  2. I think it’s really wonderful how you have soldiered on through this difficult time. Given your small (but lovely!) flat, two active boys, a work-from-home husband and pregnancy … it must be physically and emotionally exhausting. Good on you for keeping your family safe and following protocols.

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  3. I wish you all the best as you prepare for twins. I have 3 boys and my oldest was almost 6 when my twins arrived. Mine were also fraternal and were very different sleepers which was tricky and exhausting. I can be the bossy oldest sister but I wanted to tell you things I wish I had done. Understand that two babies at once are totally different than just one. ( And ignore non twin advice.). For me that meant, having someone else do at least one night feed. (I didn’t do this but so, so wish I had.) You will need much, much more help than you would think to keep your sanity. Invest in your sanity. Have a weekly date with your husband. Even if someone else takes all 4 for an afternoon stroller/ scooter ride and you lie in bed watching a fun show and eating ice cream. Don’t plan on doing any real cooking for 4 to 6 months. For the first 4 months, I fed the babies, fed myself, and could do one more thing each day which was usually reading with my kindergartener. Be cautious in postnatal exercise classes. The recovery can be a bit longer with twins and I think even post natal teachers don’t know this and you want to avoid getting injured. Good luck!

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