13 November 2018

Remembrance



Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? I remember a lot of frustration at all the things I knew I didn’t know. There was so much I had to learn and I remember feeling a bit shackled by my own littleness. 

At the same time, I loved the wonder and general awesomeness of being a kid. Anything seemed possible. Magic was real and dreams were not just possible, they were inevitable. Childhood was this pristine, happy place full of love and ideas and music. 

Sometimes I look at Ezra and I feel torn between those two memories. I see him already trying so hard to be mobile and I think “I remember that feeling of wanting to be independent and capable.” Then we'll stumble on something magical, like when this little snail crawled into where we were taking photos (I picked him and put him on the leaf for E to look at).

To have a little woodland friend stop and say hello—and to have him look up at Ezra and Ezra look back down at him—it just felt like a tiny fairytale. It made me want to keep Ezra small and sweet forever.


I’ve had these kinds of thoughts a lot lately leading up to the 100 year anniversary of Armistice day (the day that marked the end of WWI). The way Britain celebrates this day is so unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in the States. That heaviness that comes with the loss of life seems to have been passed down the generations so that even the kids feel it. I know I feel it now.

When you hear stories of all the boys that went off to fight, your heart just breaks. It feels so much heavier now that I’m a mum. What if I have to send my little boy off to war one day? Will this childhood be enough? Will it be filled with enough wonder and love and music? 

I’m not sure any childhood is perfect enough to counterbalance all the ugliness of war, but that shadow of sorrow that people here keep passing down to their children and grandchildren definitely serves a purpose. Without that understanding, I feel like people will just keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again. It makes me pray for peace every year a little harder.


On a lighter note, I love the way Ezra is just clutching onto these leaves (it was after we took photos). He’ll probably be like his mama and try to take bits of nature home with him. At the very least, I know that he’ll have an appreciation for the beauty of nature as his daddy is always stopping and pointing at trees and flowers and buildings and making sure I see how pretty they are. I love it and I can’t wait for Ezra to do it too.


This is a little taste of our new village, which was once an old mining town. Not far from our house is the assemblage (on the left). It looks like a sort of modern art piece but is actually bits of the old mine. They decorate it with red poppies especially for Remembrance Sunday. On the right is a church in the middle of town.


I guess no one knows what the future has ahead of us. I have no idea what Ezra's world will look like--everything is changing so quickly. But I hope his little life can be spent seeing beauty in God's creations and dreaming enormous dreams and seeking peace. I hope it is long and filled with wonder and that he learns to appreciate all the sacrifices young men (and women) before him have made. Life is a gift and today I'm extra grateful for it.

05 November 2018

London Soho


Soho is a provocative slice of London. Famous for its sex shops, theatres, and nightlife, it’s a neighbourhood with a vibe that’s two parts scintillating one part grunge, sort of like a sputtering neon light in a dark corner window. 

Needless to say, some tourists avoid it, which is a real shame because it is one of my most favourite neighbourhoods. To help me gush, this weekend I collaborated with Hotels·com to curate an evening in Soho. While they provided the spending money, the experiences and opinions are (obviously) entirely my own. It was a great time, and the perfect little intro into the city for baby Ezra (as this was his first time in London).


We started things off at a restaurant called Dirty Bones. There are actually two locations in Soho, one on Carnaby Street and one by Piccadilly Circus. Both have pram access and are pretty accommodating of families, but I’d definitely recommend the one near Piccadilly and suggest going on the weekend. That way you can order off their brunch menu which is the main reason to go. This time though, Jon ordered the ‘mac daddy’ which is sort of their signature dish—a macaroni + cheese meets burger monstrosity. 

Also, the bathrooms are behind a false bookcase... sooo, maybe that's a reason to go all in itself.


If Ezra had been born on his due date and had been a girl, I would have seriously considered giving him (well, her) the middle name Liberty. My love of America makes me feel like any baby born on Independence Day deserves a patriotic middle name. But my love of London also made me want to give a name that paid homage to my love of this city, and Liberty fit the bill on both counts. Just off of Carnaby Street, this period department store is perfection, inside and out.


Regardless of the time of year, I usually make a stop at the Christmas department (yes there is a whole year-round department dedicated to Christmas). I think you can tell by his expression that my little man is going to have the same wide-eyed wonder I still feel every time I hear festive music and see twinkly lights. We LOVE Christmas in this house.


I’ve written about it before, but it never gets old. Said dal 1923 is the last word in hot chocolate. It is the BEST hot chocolate of any place in the world (and yes it blows Burdick’s in Boston out of the water, though rumour has it Angelina’s in Paris is pretty fab, and I’ve yet to try that so stay tuned). The hot chocolate is so rich and thick and it comes with three kinds of hot chocolate poured over the edge. As if that wasn’t enough, this place also serves the best carrot cake (I owe this to the fact that their recipe excludes nutmeg, which I have a completely unwarranted personal vendetta against). Double win for Said dal 1923.


Finally, there is Carnaby Street itself. Just off of Regency street, this dazzling little side road is full of fun shops and restaurants. Nighttime is when it really shines (usually literally). This year the theme is Bohemian Rhapsody and every few feet there are giant neon signs overhead with Queen’s lyrics. What’s great about Carnaby is you get that colourful buzz that Soho offers, but in a way that is a lot more family friendly.


I do love London. It was a short but lovely trip made much more complicated by the fact I am still exclusively express-feeding Ezra. It’s one of those things you just don’t think about until you’re faced with it—the need to find a private, quiet space with an outlet in the middle of London. So far, the best place I’ve found is at Westfield Mall (which isn't even really in central London). They have several parent lounges there that are fantastic. They are quiet little private rooms with armchairs, outlets, and even a low screen with cartoons on it for kids. The only perplexing part is that there are no locks on the doors (I remedied this by wedging a stool behind the sliding door). Still, it is by far the best option I’ve discovered so far.

Love you London! Til next time...