Monthly Archives: November 2011

Sick Day

My boys both stayed home sick today from school.  Maddox had been sick the day before, and so he had to stay home one more full day to make sure he was fully recovered.  Ronan unfortunately hurt his foot the day before in gymnastics at school.  It was not swollen, but he was still limping around the house this morning.  I left both boys with Ryan and went to work, wishing I could stay home and give them extra cuddles today.  It looks like they had a successful recovery day because they were both doing much better when I got home tonight.  Since I work later on Wednesdays I did not get to capture any photos of the boys today so I am uploading a few I took the other day.  We were walking home from school and I had brought my camera with me as usual.  My boys played models for me underneath the perfect overcast skies.  You have to hand it to England.  Their dreary weather makes for a great diffuser against the sun.  Here are a few of my favourite images of the boys.
Not sure if those are Doctor Who, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, or Super hero poses. Take your pick.
Brothers and best friends. To me they are my my world.

Signs of Christmas

Signs of the Christmas holidays are now popping up in the store fronts of the shops on the high streets in England.  There is a cute botique of bespoke interior design pieces for the home on our walk to school.  They have recently redone their window with many Christmas elements, including two vintage wooden rocking horses that the boys like to look at when we pass by.  I cannot help but be drawn into the window myself, looking for any ideas we can use at home for our own holiday decor.  There is something about the dark overcast skies, that causes the holiday fairylights to grab you like a magnet.  Ronan was also really impressed by the Christmas tree at the grocery store with all its holiday decorations.  He has  already been bitten by the holiday bug and has started writing Christmas poetry too.  Maddox has been talking about what cookies he wants to make with Ronan.  So far Monster cookies are on our list as well as homemade marshmellows.  I will need to trade in our gingerhouse this year and teach the boys the deliciousness that is Christmas pudding.   I so look forward to celebrating our first holiday here in England.

Ronan & Maddox gazing into the shop’s Christmas window display.  

Poetry of the Season

My son Ronan, who is in Year Two, has started writing poems at school. They wrote a poem for Veteran’s Day and Bonfire night. For homework last night Ronan wrote a poem about Fall. My son has already been dubbed ‘the romantic one’ by my husband and I. Since he started school, there has always been one girl that he has had a crush on, sometimes more than one. He will come home and tell me how pretty they look. Just the other week I took the boys to the store to get some ideas for Christmas cookies (yes, I am all to eager to start the holiday celebrations!). As we are paying and leaving, Ronan says to the young 20something shopkeeper, ‘You are really beautiful.’ I had to turn my head away so Ronan would not see me stifling a laugh. He is just so sweet and honest. Now that he is learning about poetry in school, I can just see him writing poems to all the girls in his school. Of course right now he has a crush on a girl who is in Year 6. For now I will share the poem he wrote about the Autumn season:

Holiday Forecast calls for Snow!

I love the winter holiday season, though I usually wait until after the American holiday of Thanksgiving in November to start ‘Decking the Halls’. It is no wonder when every department store and other businesses start celebrating earlier and earlier each year. Even here in England, before Halloween has arrived, there are Christmas decorations and goodies for sale in the shops on the high streets. This year I feel a little bit different about the whole affair. Part of it is because the usual marker of when to officially start preparing for Christmas, is not a celebration here in England obviously. There is also the reasoning that because Thanksgiving falls on my birthday this year, I am not all together to keen to go out of my way to celebrate it. My partner’s birthday is coming up this week for his big Three 0 and my birthday will follow it an exact week later. Having just moved to the country we are not really going to be going all out with celebration parties. So with Bonfire night behind us, the next holidays are Hanukah, Christmas, and New Years and I am definitely looking forward to bringing some holiday cheer to our house. I have been on Pinterest, Etsy, and a few other websites looking for some creative and fun ideas that the boys and I can do this year. The easiest and most affordable was to start making snowflakes, and I really want to make quite a lot to put up around the house and from the windows. We started tonight with me teaching the boys as they learn how to make
snowflakes from cutting up pieces of paper. I let the boys fold the paper and draw their design, while I cut them out with the scissors. We had quite a bit of fun as we talked about other things we could to decorate our house. I look forward to the further posts I can share with you all about how we are getting ready for the Holiday season ahead.

Autumn and it is getting Darker

Mushroom in the leaves

I recently posted photos of the the leaves that have changed colours and fallen on the ground. It is quite a beautiful scene, and I am still in awe when when I go walking outside. There is another aspect of the season that is new to me, and that is how dark it gets so early. Reason being that England is closer in proximity to the North Pole, than other places I have lived last. The last eight months that I lived in the US I was living in Tucson, Arizona and before that I was in Hawaii for three years. Both of those places do not change the clocks forward or backwards as the seasons change. So now I will be at work looking outside, and its half past 4 in the afternoon and its already begun to get dark. It makes the days feel so much shorter and my nights to be feeling as if it is later than it actually says on the clock. The skies in England have been a lot darker or more overcast than they had been earlier this summer. I have been noticing little elements of Fall while I am outside and try to capture them in photograph. Here are a few aspects of Autumn in England that I have noticed and loved.

When it rains, the slugs come out to play.

Getting darker sooner.
Neighbour’s Apples

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Maddox in Reception

The school system is quite different in England, than how it is in the US. For instance most of the schools require a school uniform, and some even have ‘houses’ as depicted in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. My oldest son is in Year Two, and that is the US equivalent of First Grade. While my boys are now in Primary school, they go to secondary school at age 11, off to College at the age of 16, and University at the age of 18. Ronan and Maddox are only 6 and 4 respectfully, and I am already anxious about how they will do on their A Levels and GCSEs. Thankfully we do have plenty of time to prepare for that stage of their education. I am enjoying every day that I get to take them to school and see them excited about being in class with their friends. This morning I snuck in for a little bit to take photos of some of the work Maddox has been doing in Reception. I find it hard to walk out and head back home, but he is always focused on learning as soon as he walks in to class. I hope that excitement about learning will stay with both my boys for years to come.

Caterpillar by Maddox

Crocodile by Maddox

Learning about Leaves

Experiencing the change of Seasons

Ronan’s leaf findings

The boys and I have really been enjoying the Autumn season here in England.  After spending three years living in Hawaii and a brief stay in the desert in Arizona, having a real Autumn is a beautiful treat.  There is nothing like the changing of the leaves to make you aware that Summer is indeed over.  We have donned our heavier coats on colder days and sometimes find the need for wellingtons when its wet and dreary outside.  I have even coloured my hair (finally a ginger!) to go with the changing colours of the leaves.  Ronan has been assigned in school a project about the different trees and their leaves.  We have been collecting different leaves when we are outside and taking them home.  Tonight Ronan glued the best ones to his papers and worked like a sleuth to figure out what tree it originated from.   He loves investigating and has a keen appreciation for art and crafts, so this was a really fun project.  I have to be honest though.  I think what Ronan and Maddox love best is simply playing in all the fallen leaves.  Throwing them up in the air so they can rain down on them causes great big smiles and laughter is soon to follow as we crunch the leaves with our feet as we walk through a dense pile on the ground.  Summer is a lovely and much awaited season, but with the arrival of Fall it does not mean an End.  It is simply a beginning to the cooler seasons and means that Winter and the Holidays are fast approaching.