Over spring break Paige and I decided at the last minute to try to take a trip. We wanted to go to Edinburgh, but the flights were all full so by process of elimination (we could get on a flight!), we decided to go to London for a couple of days.

We love the Victoria and Albert Museum- it was full of fun stuff, and we wandered and meandered our jet lagged selves around until it was time for a spot of tea.

Of course we had to make the trek out to King’s Cross and visit Platform 9 3/4. It was très touristy, but it had to be done!

Girl’s night out!

We also went to Oxford and Oxford was AMAZING! I loved Oxford. It was charming. It was full of history, and gargoyles, ghost stories and interesting stuff, and statues, and even more gargoyles and I wanted to stay FOREVER! We only had time to visit one of the colleges at Oxford- Christ Church; and that was only a fleeting visit at best. But we made time for a visit to the Great Hall in Bodley Tower which was the inspiration for the great hall in the Harry Potter movies (they’re almost an exact replica!) The Hall was built in the 1500’s and has been in almost constant use since the sixteenth century. Even today, it’s used as a dining hall for the students at Christ Church.

We stopped to browse in Alice’s Sweet Shop, where Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice In Wonderland used to shop for sweets when her father (and author of book), Henry George Liddell, was the Dean of Christ Church.

We, naturally, visited the Tower. Yes, it’s also touristy. I know. I don’t care. We go every time we’re in London. I love it. I love the Yeoman Warders. I love the ravens.

And OF COURSE we visited my favorite place, The British Museum! If you’ve never been, and you ever get to London you should definitely make the time to go. The British Museum has an amazing collection of items, collected over centuries. They rotate their collections rather often as well (and the museum is so large and collections so extensive), that I find that even though we visit every time we are in London I always find new treasures to be enthralled by. And of course, they have The Rosetta Stone , they have the largest collection of Egyptian objects outside of Egypt, and a portion of the Parthenon (or Elgin Marbles), and the Sutton Hoo Collection, and the Vindolanda Tablets.

We were only there 3 days, but we crammed a lot into those 3 days (including a day trip to Oxford 😍), and we had a fabulous time!

Spring Break (when Mother Nature hates you)

Spring break was a bit of a disappointment this year, especially for the kids. We all had plans; to lounge blissfully on the beach, to go hiking at, go kayaking, etc. Mother Nature wasn’t feeling very cooperative, however, and a nasty cold front came through and spring break felt more like winter break. 

So…instead of lounging blissfully on the beach, we curled up under blankets and read and watched movies. When the sun finally came out and the temperature warmed up a little bit, the kids went hiking anyway (it was brisk, but fun).

The final day of spring break it finally warmed up enough for Paige and I to wake up early and crawl out of our warm beds, grab our cameras and some coffee and head to the beach to catch the sunrise. Tim scoffed at us the night before. He actually guffawed  when we told him we were going to wake up early and go watch the sunrise. 

Oh yeah!

That’s right, Mister. We were up at the butt crack of dawn, and we’ve got photographic proof! 

Hmph. Guffawing at us. So rude. 

Anyway, it was really nice. Bonding experience, peaceful, spiritual, blah blah. 

We came home and had some more coffee, ran some errands, Paige got a couple hours in at the pool and cuddled with Jack, Clay went fishing, and then….

Spring break was over. 

Monday, when the kids started back at school, temperatures were in the 80’s. 

Mother Nature hates my kids. 

Spring Break…and a refugee family

 We had a wonderful week with Paige when she was home for spring break last week. We shopped, and had beach days, and pool days, and got our hair done. We had family Boston Legal marathons and she slept…a lot…and cuddled with Jack, and read, and just relaxed. 




In other news, I’ve met with “my” refugee family a couple of times and I just adore them. They are the sweetest, most humble, adorable family. The father speaks perfect, fluent English (which definitely makes things a lot easier!). The mom only speaks a few words of English, so far, but is so sweet and smiles so much…between hand gestures and her husband, we are communicating just fine. The little girl is cute, and giggly and twirls and skips, and the baby…oh my goodness. That baby is a chubby little smiling machine. 

On my first visit, I went with someone from World Relief, and it was just a short visit to meet them and set up a schedule for meetings. I brought them a gift basket filled with towels and cleaning supplies and a fruit bowl, and teething rings for the baby and coloring books, and reading books, and sidewalk chalk and bubbles for the little girl.

Yesterday, I sat and talked to them for an hour and half. We talked about how they are settling in, and what help they will need. I brought a driver’s license handbook for the dad to study as he is determined to get a driver’s license as soon as possible. (He already has an international license.) He is trying to find a job. He wants to be self sufficient and to be able to provide for his family. He is excited about living in America and exploring his new country and seeing the things he has heard and read about. He can’t wait to become a citizen. He worries about their families back home in Afghanistan, especially his mother. 

They are human beings. They are just like you and I. They have the same dreams and fears that everyone does. They are a beautiful, young family of four living in a tiny, albeit spotlessly clean, one bedroom apartment. They are tremendously grateful for the opportunities they have been given. They are optimistic. Of course, they are worried – they are living in a new country thousands of miles from everything and everyone they have known. They must learn not only a new language, but new customs as well. It can be frustrating. But they are optimistic. 

So am I. 

I try to tune out the hateful rhetoric that certain orange hued politicians bombastically trumpet to the masses. I try to ignore the increasingly xenophobic, racist, and misogynistic tones of our country lately. I am focusing on what is good about America, and there is much that is good. In fact, there is much that is great. Starting with my little family and their hope and optimism and love. We are a nation of immigrants and refugees. We are a nation of second chances. I want to believe that there is more optimism and hope and love than there is of hate and bigotry. I must believe that. 

* I cannot give specific details about my family, but I can share these links which may give you a bit of insight into what they have experienced…