May 1, 2015
Our first full day in London. We really packed this day!! We hit the ground running and visited Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster and so much more!!!
We always try to book tickets for special places ahead of time – in this case, the London Eye! It was pretty cool!
The Tube station we got off was across the bridge from Big Ben – Char took these pictures as we crossed the bridge.
A Char taken family selfie!
The London Eye with my 3 favorite people in front of me.
At this time (and I haven’t been back to London since so I am not sure if they are still there) there were decorated sheep all over the city! They were so fun!
Westminster Abbey – expensive to get in to and not for littles – but we enjoyed a self tour and lunch in the basement!
Char loved this – the oldest door in Britain!
We have recreated this photo at Disney – One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE pictures ever!!
Stay tuned for Day 3 of our London/Mediterranean Cruise adventure!
Wednesday and Thursday – Hot and sunny!
It never ceases to amaze me that in Maine, we go from late winter to summer. SOMETIMES there is an in between season called “mud”, but otherwise – BAM! It’s summer!
Our pool is open and our inner circle is opening. This past weekend we dined with and gave hugs to grandparents. Char and her BFF Lizzy have started hanging out again and Kelton can now see his girlfriend with regularity! We are trying to take is slow – we helped our church offices in a big move Thursday night and everyone wore masks and it was strange to see people in such spaced out groups, but these are the times we are living in!
Char has her She Shed mostly cleaned out and the mattresses from Wal-Mart arrived. She opened them and they are airing out waiting for a cover and sheets! The ONLY issue we see so far is a potential electrical one (always) – one of the circuits isn’t working so Kelly has to check that out. Final pictures to come when it is done!
Char’s garden is growing! Slowly but surely and even now that it is before June our yard is in good shape for enjoying this opportunity to slow down and contemplate life’s purpose. I’d be lying if I said we haven’t had struggles. My travel business is in the tank right now. I know it will come back but it is hard to see the forest for the trees, as they say! The whole world looks different and I am asked all the time what will be happening in different parts of the world for fall and winter and I don’t even know if I will be able to go to the beach three towns over next week.
Another blogger called this time a “Golden Captivity” (If I can find the post, I will edit this and add a link) and those words have stuck with me lately. If I had to make a list of the positives and negatives of the last 3 months it would be a mixture for sure. I think those two words really sum up so many of my feelings at this time. I can’t quantify the loss or gain at this point but I feel like the after effects will be staggering. I like the old normal.
Days 73 & 74 and counting….
A couple months after I turned 40, my family and I took an amazing vacation to Europe to celebrate! That vacation was exactly five years ago and I am reliving those wonderful memories through Facebook and it makes my heart soar! I have wanted to revisit that vacation with all of you and thought this would be a great opportunity to do so.
A little information before we dive in….2013 was my very first trip to Europe. We went in March and spent roughly a week each in Paris, Argenton-sur-Creuse (French countryside), London and Scotland. We flew to Paris, stayed in the Latin Quarter, took the train to Limoges, it was a fabulous trip – we made so many amazing memories and we couldn’t wait to return.
Fast forward to 2015 and we decided to do a 16-night Mediterranean cruise to celebrate my 40th. Well, who wants to sail the Med in February? So we found a Royal Caribbean ship (the Anthem of the Seas) that was debuting in May and we signed up!!!
We decided to rent a house in the suburbs of London prior to our cruise and invited Kelly’s brother and his family to join us. It was so much fun!!! Full of magic, charm, hiccups and adventure!
Join me as I relive this whirl wind trip with YOU and take a journey down memory lane to the most amazing vacation I have ever taken! If you want to see lots in the Med, take a cruise!!! It’s the way to go!
Our day one was April 30th 2015. We arrived in London after an overnight flight and got a taxi to our London suburb. The house was adorable – named Jubilee because it was built during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year!
Here are a few pictures of our arrival day! We usually try to chill a bit on arrival days and we were also expecting the arrival of Nick, Marta and baby Sophia – we took some walks to get aquainted with the area and the kids and I TRIED to take the tube to the city, but we were all tired and bailed! hahahaha
Monday and Tuesday –
Monday – Memorial Day – a day we set a side to remember those who have FALLEN in defense of their country, not to be confused with Veteran’s Day – a day we set aside to honor those who have or continue to serve our country. We spent this day at home. It was overcast and we spent the time doing chores and playing games as a family. We spent the day laughing and enjoying each other’s company. We spent the day cherishing the freedoms protected by those who serve. It was a great day in the Smith house.
Tuesday – Dare I say, the LAST full workday on the She Shed!!!! I actually do not have any pictures of the last two days but let me tell you – lots of work happened!! It is 98% complete but I won’t take any interior pictures until it is done! You will love it!
This week is going to be hot! Like be outside in the morning and evening hot or in the pool!!! I think the pool is going to be for me!
Days 71 & 72 and counting….
Friday – Sunday – I just can’t say enough amazing things about the weather – WOW!!!
Friday it was hot!! Like in the 80s hot – and for the fact that is snowed 3 weeks ago….well that’s just silly! Friday, we boated, Char tubed, we fished, we ate (ice cream), we did puzzles, we played games and generally had a wonderful day!!!
Saturday was my hubby’s birthday. He and Char fished, we played games (learned a new card game to us called Golf), we talked, Cooper took his frist Jeep ride, read and took a sunset cruise. Kelton flew his drone and we enjoyed a great fire!
Sunday – another morning fire, some fishing, an early boat ride, food, Golf, packing and heading home.
It was a relaxing and much needed weekend to recharge and refocus. I hope you had the same opportunity with your family and loved ones!
Days 68-70 and counting….
Thursday – the weather – WOW!!! Warm, sunny and gorgeous! Just the way to start a long weekend for the Smiths.
Kelly had a doctor’s appointment this morning, so Char and I used the time to get her veggie garden planted and we had helpers!!! We planted zucchini, lettuce, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, beans, peas, broccoli and Swiss chard!
After a short break, we headed up to my dad’s little cabin on the Pine River – a tributary to Lake Ossipee in New Hampshire. We call this “red neck camping” because we just park our camper next to the driveway and hang out. We have electricity but that’s about it! It is a nice opportunity to get away when we can’t really get away!!!
Cooper LOVES camping and the boat. Char started fishing right away, caught a nice sized white fish/carp, and Kelton started tinkering with Grampy! We LOVE camping at Grampy’s and will really enjoy this chance to reset!!!
Have a wonderful weekend and be safe!!!
Day 67 and counting….
Wednesday – another SMASHINGLY wonderful day!!!!
And so busy….I had my first PT appointment and went grocery shopping. Got Cooper a doggie life jacket then boogied home. I had hopes of helping Char plant her garden this morning but no such luck –
We had a visit from Nana, finished putting the rest of the soil in the garden, Kelly critiqued my new soaker hose system I installed yesterday, and I guess I need to redo it (I thought it was pretty awesome for my first time doing something like that).
I took Char to the barn, did a couple stalls, then took her to the orthodontist. We got home and I finished packing for camping – made a lasagna for tomorrow night’s dinner, helped Kelly fix a water issue with the camper (I supervised), played Exploding Kittens and now I am melting. No time for pictures today….I can’t wait to slow down this weekend!
Day 66 and counting….
Tuesday – the weather could not have been better!!!
I started this morning by taking Cooper to the vet…he has an infection in his foot and has steroids and antibiotics for at least 14 days. Poor fellow!!!
Back at home, inside work this morning…and this afternoon, lots of outside!!
Finally, the big blue tarp is gone, but the She Shed is not done yet….maybe next week.
I got most of the topsoil in Char’s garden and love the arbor I made.
And…my veggies on the new terraced hillside are starting to come up! How exciting!
I also cleaned the camper – we just took the cover off of it yesterday and decided to go red-neck camping at my dad’s little cabin Thursday-Sunday. We park the camper next to the driveway and pretend to camp…I know I am looking forward to the change of scenery!
Day 65 and counting….
Monday – another beautiful day! Last week it looked like it was going to rain today and tomorrow but no…the weather fairies are working well for us right now!!!
Work was busy today – things are picking up in the travel world and I booked a 2021 Disney trip and quoted two more. I also had a Bahama’s trip quote for the fall and for the first time in 3 months, I can put some potential earnings in my book. Fingers crossed!!!
I finished the prep for the raised bed gardens and now all I need is topsoil and to plant! I wanted a whimsical look and added a twig arbor. I think I will add more to it but generally I like how it turned out.
Kelton looked dapper in his Boy Scout meeting attire…isn’t this how we are all Zooming these days?
Day 64 and counting….
Friday, Saturday and Sunday – beautiful weather – in fact, Friday was a “bonus day” because we thought it was going to rain all day and the storms held off until Friday night – and we got thunder and lightning and the whole 9 yards!!!
Friday I worked in the yard – actually – that is what I did all weekend!!! I moved mulch, built retaining walls, moved soil and rock, supervised some tractor work, planted more plants and seeds, moved more mulch and got eaten alive with the lovely black fly. Stinkers!
Here are some before and afters of some work we got done this weekend.
This is where our raised bed veggie garden is going to go!
Saturday we celebrated one of my niece’s birthdays (I have 3 nieces and 1 nephew with birthdays in May) and dropped off her gift at her house. We sat together outside while she opened up her goodies and enjoyed about 20 minutes of seeing people other than our immediate family. It was lovely! Char also got Lola snuggles – if it has 4 legs, it loves Char!!!
Lola loves Char!!!
I have noticed that dinner keeps getting later and later! Last night we ate at 8pm!!!! WHAT??? That is very NOT like me but I am loving the opportunity to work outside (with the black flies) and have a hard time pulling myself away!
Days 61-63 and counting….