a graduation, a wall, a castle, a mission area, and other tidbits from april

some more from april 2021…

there was a day when moses didn’t have school but gabriel had joy school. and that day coincided with gabriel’s last official day at joy school since he was soon starting nursery at mo’s school. so moses got to be there for gabriel’s little graduation from joy school! mo was sooooo excited to go to joy school again (he hadn’t been since he was three!) and gabriel was sooooo excited to have his brother with him. it was super sweet.

bonus that the lesson that day included a dance party!

it was so great to have moses there to participate in the three cheers of “hip hip hooray” for gabe and his friend henry, who was moving away and also finishing joy school.

the little graduates with all their joy school pals. i’ll never be able to express fully how much i adore joy school. it has been such a massive blessing for our family.

we had cupcakes to celebrate!

one saturday we drove east to meet our dear friends the schwartzes for an afternoon. we engineered our route to go right across tower bridge because ian had always wanted to drive across it. i have to say, it was pretty thrilling πŸ™‚

we met the schwartzes at a forest area that had a “gruffalo trail.” we found the mouse, the fox, the snake…

…and the gruffalo! and i can’t believe i didn’t take any photos with amy, rob and elsa. they were our uk family!

one of mo’s classmate’s grandmother knitted these amazing jumpers for the twins. how sweet is that?!

one weekday, ian took a day off of work and took moses and gabriel to the coast. he really wanted to spend a little more time at beachy head before we moved. they stopped by dover castle, too.

the next day, prince philip died. it was really interesting to be living in england when one of the senior royals passed away. because of covid, there wasn’t a huge gathering at buckingham palace like there likely would be in a pandemic-free world, but some mourners came to pay their respects. ian got the boys some tulips to leave at the palace gate.

spotted at a gas station:
there were huge billboard and banners around london paying tribute to the queen’s husband.

in april august and eve turned six months old, and on their half birthday they had their first taste of non-milk food! just like moses and gabriel, their first food was avocado, and also just like their brothers, they were skeptical. it was a family affair watching them take their first bites, and moses even got to feed them!

a morning at the pirate ship playground:

and a day at the zoo with our friends the rosdahls!

claire and grant’s mama skye is an amazing artist and she turned all the big kids into cheetahs!

i think every single time we went to london zoo we got to hear the lions roaring. it is majestic and powerful. and we’ve often lucked out with them lounging right by the windows too. // sweet skye and grant on the carousel!:

one morning gabriel and the twins and i went down to the heart of the city…

…to see a wall (can you see it all pink/red there beneath the hospital where moses was born?):

the national covid memorial wall has a painted red heart for every person in the uk that had died of covid-19.

as we walked along the banks of the thames, my overwhelming sadness came out in tears running down my face. the visual representation of lost life was so powerful, and i felt overcome with gratitude for my health and the health of my loved ones. at times, the effects of the pandemic on our family have felt heavy, but as i pushed the buggy along the covid wall, holding gabriel’s hand, they felt tiny.

feeling inspired to be more thankful and more compassionate, we crossed back over westminster bridge and i had to snap some photos of gabriel with the london eye, because he is obsessed (it’s so darling) with the london eye.

we spent one saturday in april in the last of my mission areas that i hadn’t yet visited since we moved to london (i can’t believe it took us that long!!). basingstoke was where i started my mission and this random little town is a holy place to me. i spent my first nearly eight months there. we drove past the house my companions and i lived in:

and went to the crabtree plantation, a place my companions and i frequented for morning exercise or on preparation days.

then we visited the atkins family. my heart will always hold a really tender spot for these amazing souls. my companion and i met joanne and lee just a couple of weeks after they lost their 8-year-old daughter to cancer, and sharing with them our faith in god’s plan for families and christ’s healing power is among one of my most cherished life experiences. just looking at this picture again makes my heart swell with so much emotion. joanne and lee’s son george was just ten years old when we met him – now he’s a grown man! it was such a joy to reconnect and visit with the atkins on this sunny afternoon in their back garden (still illegal to meet indoors).

then we went to the park and met up with another of my dear friends from my mission, terry. we also got to see his daughter (who i knew from when i taught terry as a missionary) and his grandson (that was so fun!!). terry is another incredible soul and this was another super tender and wonderful reconnection. we walked basingstoke’s high street – where i spent many, many hours street contacting – to find some dinner before leaving basingstoke.

since we were close to a national trust site, we went there to finish off the day out and let the boys run wild. this place is called the vyne and it was lovely!

back in march, ian mentioned that he had discovered that highclere castle (aka downtown abbey), while still closed to the public for regular visiting, was selling tickets for afternoon tea picnics on the grounds. he said to me, “i thought that might be up your alley.” i responded with, “ummmm, i live in that alley!! yes!!!” i was a pretty die-hard downton abbey fan back in its run, and afternoon tea is basically my favourite thing ever. so when the day came for our picnic, i was so, so excited! yes, i blasted the downton abbey theme song as we drove up to the castle.

we picked up our afternoon tea box and opened it up after we found a good spot on the grass.

it was so beautiful, inside and out!

our picnic was great, but definitely not peaceful and lovely with all these crazy kiddos haha.

and after we were full we flew our kite and explored the gardens.

such a memorable day in our beloved england.

here’s what our flat looked like most of the time in april …

and what ian’s office occasionally looked like… πŸ™‚

i took my run to a certain street in chelsea three or four different times, to see the cherry blossoms in all their glory and in different phases.

and spotted some other beautiful blooms around the neighbourhood on different outings…

our sweet, sweet auggie:

with his twin sister evie:

trying out the koala position for tandem breastfeeding, and hanging out with dad during a little work break in the middle of the day:

the babies started interacting with each other more and more this spring. i’ll never forget the first time they really noticed each other, at four months old. it was magic. since then, face-to-face tummy time got more fun πŸ™‚

ian and i had a little day date (with the twins) one friday afternoon, and we went to portobello road. i love that market so, so much.

we had fun in the vintage photobooth in a corner store πŸ™‚

we spotted a van with moses’s name on it twice in one week! very exciting.

one of my very best friends, brooke, moved away in april. a small group of girlfriends met at a delicious restaurant a couple nights before she left. i hope i never forget my bike ride to this dinner. the city felt absolutely electric because it was one of the very first days that restaurants were allowed to reopen, with outdoor seating only. basically every eating establishment in london had created an outdoor dining area with lights and heat lamps and fun decor, and basically every outdoor dining area was full and bursting with life and excitement. it was so fun to cycle past all that, and to get to the restaurant we were meeting at and be able to eat out with friends. love these ladies so much.

another run to redcliffe road in chelsea:

august and eve started using a high chair!

sweet cuddles from eve, and something i found around the house … translation: “my chart of grumpy. i am grumpy because i had a dream… now i am happy.”

evie and gabey:

a date night (sooo exciting to be able to have babysitters!) – bike ride past buckingham palace and to covent garden – our old neighbourhood! we ate my favourite pizza – homeslice – in colourful neal’s yard.

i can’t figure out why i have this photo from trafalgar square in my april photos! i must have gone down there for something.

more tummy time fun…

and one more run to redcliffe road, just as the leaves were overtaking the blossoms on the trees and the petal dust was at peak awesomeness:

in april we made our first offer on a house in provo, so our move became really real. and our desire to cherish the heck out of london was intense. at the very end of the month we took our first overnight trip since the last summer … our first overnight trip with the twins! that post coming next πŸ™‚


  1. That was lovely of Ian to buy some flowers for the boys for Prince Phillip & then to leave them at Buckingham Palace. Even tho Prince Phiilip was 99 I was still shocked & upset when I heard the news that he’d died.

    I’m really enjoying all the updates, especially of the wonderful views of London in the spring.


  2. Hey Charity, I don’t use instagram, but I am curious to know about your move/how you made that decision. Maybe you want to share πŸ™‚


  3. What a great capture of these beautiful days in London! I found so much that I didn’t know. The Atkins! And so many treasured pics of the kids and their life there. Congrats on having the grit to get this done for. your life history! Love you!


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