Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Week 36 (and Week 35 Addendum)

Nothing too life altering to report this week.  We have just been desperate to have our little routine back and to feel like we have finally kicked about four weeks worth of jet lag to the curb.  I celebrated my birthday with my two favorite fellas on Friday.  The fabulous patio furniture set and grill I had picked out for myself (because sometimes you just have to take these matters into your own hands) came the morning we returned home from New York.  The perfect thing to cheer us up!  We are just begging for Spring to slink out of its shell full force and our thoughts have turned to outside toys, gardening, and barbecues. Of course it rained all the rest of the week, but by Friday, we had the grill going at least and by Sunday evening, we were sitting outside on our cushioned chairs with a glass of wine and enjoying some al fresco dining.  It was a lovely way to conclude the week. 

I have included a few photographs from our time in New York since I focused only on the family photo last week....
IMG_5631 IMG_5627-1
Yes, I intend to ingest this entire massive bowl of non-nutritional, bland pasta in a matter of minutes and then mercilessly beg you for dessert because this $8 entree that cost about 50 cents to make didn't fill the bottomless pit of a stomach I mysteriously only have once dessert (or bedtime) rolls around.  
What of it?
This child is way too cool to be a product of me or Keegan...clearly.
IMG_5630 Week 35 Abridged and Week 368 IMG_5663
Had to bring his cool factor down a notch.... :)
IMG_5726 Week 35 Abridged and Week 3610 Week 35 Abridged and Week 369 Week 35 Abridged and Week 367 Week 35 Abridged and Week 361
It was a sad occasion for Keegan to be home but we were able to enjoy a lovely Mother's Day with his mom at the beach and in Southampton for lunch regardless.
Week 35 Abridged and Week 362 IMG_5685
Tried (but failed) to get a photo of my little guy looking oh so handsome in his funeral garb.  He was WAY too busy with PB&J and his cousins for that...
Week 35 Abridged and Week 36-001
Playing with Daddy's old cars...
IMG_5650 IMG_5654 Week 35 Abridged and Week 36 Week 35 Abridged and Week 363 Week 35 Abridged and Week 366
Dear London, we have BIG plans for our new grill and barbecue season.  Do NOT disappoint with this continued rubbish weather.  People, make reservations at Chez Anderson Patio NOW!!
Week 35 Abridged and Week 365 Week 35 Abridged and Week 364

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Week 35

Typically, if it takes me this long to post a blog, you can assume either Liam is off from school and/or it has been a difficult one to write.  This week, in fact, perhaps the most difficult.  It is with a heavy heart that I report this last week was devoted to traveling back to New York for the funeral of Keegan’s One Hundred and Two Year Old Grandmother, “Nanny.”  I capitalized One Hundred and Two because, well, that’s obvious, right?!  {Only true Rockstars of Life live to be One Hundred and Two, duh}.  It was a moment I suppose we all knew was coming, a moment, no matter how many times we thought about it, or avoided thinking about it, we were never going to be ready to face, a moment we all knew would take our breath away.  For me, I knew it was going to be a moment I would need to be there for my husband in a way I never had before, in a way I didn’t even know how to be.  Hands down, he will tell you aside from his parents and brother, she was the most influential person in his life.  She lived across the street from him his entire childhood.  He would traipse off, literally over the river and through the woods, every Saturday to her house for a breakfast of cereal and cartoons.  When Keegan brought me home for the first time and introduced me to Nanny, he didn’t just stop there.  He proceeded to take me to her house for hour long visits every single day.  At first I thought I was the special occasion.  Then I realized, no, this is what Keegan does every time he comes home.  Nanny was the special occasion. He visits his Nanny.  He visits his Nanny every day.  He chats with her . . . no . . . he actually talks to her.  He makes her smile.   He draws her out.  He gets her to tell stories, show old photographs, share her diary, share memories.  Throughout our married life, up until a few years ago when they moved Nanny into a room without a telephone, Keegan called her . . . not every once in a while, not once a month, not even once a week.  He called her every day.  Every day people.  Truly, a special, one of a kind precious relationship.  How, I had asked myself a million times, would I ever get him through this moment?  And then suddenly, this moment was upon us.  Ready or not, and how is anyone every ready for this, there it was, this moment, taking our breath away.  

It was a bittersweet weekend.  It was a time to grieve the end of her time here with us, a time to grieve the inevitable and all too quick passage of time, a time to say goodbye.  But also, it was a time to be together with the family that knew this Rockstar of Life and knew what she meant to so many people, a time to celebrate her amazing life, her indelible success and leadership, and a time to marvel over the quality of people she has left behind and the invaluable lessons she has given to them.  It was my five year old, my wise beyond his years five year old, that said to me, “We don’t have to be sad, Mommy.  Her spirit is still here with us.”  I couldn’t have put it more simply and better myself.  We cry and we grieve because it is the end of something, but truly it is the beginning of so much more.  When I looked around the church at the faces of her handsome sons, their beautiful families, the fresh faces of her grandchildren and the huge innocent eyes of her great grandchildren, somewhere in all of those faces, I could see Nanny’s unparalleled determination, her bold courage, and her fiery passion masked only by a gentle smile.  Yes, Liam her spirit will indeed live on.  For years way beyond One Hundred and Two.

This is for you Nanny.  Just a small sampling of the people whose lives were made better by knowing you, who loved you dearly, and who will continue to honor your spirit in their own lives.
(Photo by Kurt Hofmann)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Week 34

Me, myself, and I had just the most fabulous time this week ambling around Covent Garden and the surrounding pedestrian avenues for the first time.  I had walked near it on a Saturday a while back with Keegan and Liam, stopping in a men’s clothing shop on the edge of it, but by the time we reappeared, I had no desire to engage in the endless crowds of tourists that were starting to swarm.  A Thursday late morning arrival of 10 a.m. proved to be a much better alternative.  There was a quiet, calm before the storm feel as the glorious spring sunshine began to stream through the glass roof of the market and greet pre-coffee-ied jet-lagged visitors seated at outdoor cafes desperate for some warmth and espresso.  My nose and tummy begged to join them, but I trod on, camera beckoning me to get some work done first.  I made a full loop, taking my time to soak up the atmosphere of local artists busily setting up stands to sell their work, cupcake stores going to great pains to lay the fancy treats out just so, and street food vendors firing up their grills.  My walkabout coincided with the Thursday “Real Food Market.”  I made about 5 laps around those 10 stands (the owners were starting to look at me funny after about the third lap without a purchase) all in the name of photography really, but secretly I was making great plans for the lunch I would later devour as I sat on the cobblestone square, people watching and absorbing every ounce of those ultraviolet rays.  As the lunch crowds started to descend, school groups filtered in, and the tourists' caffeine started to kick in, I quickly packed up to go. I came home with a tummy full of an organic beef burger with local stilton cheese, a few mini cupcakes (for Liam, of course), a painting by a local artist, and a newfound appreciation for this lovely little pocket of the city.  In fact, we are returning there this evening for dinner and a pint actually!  Cheers.
IMG_5561 IMG_5614 IMG_5563 IMG_5609 Week 345 IMG_5579 Week 346 Week 344 Week 343 IMG_5580 Week 341 Week 342 IMG_5618 Week 347

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Week 32 & 33

The Seychelles.  I’ll be honest.  I’d never heard of it until we moved here and started  looking for a potential location for our . . . let’s see, what will this be now . . . our eighth, no ninth . . . honeymoon.  About as close to perfect as you could get really.  A little wooden beach bungalow nestled lightly into the lush jungle-like surroundings and overlooking the turquoise waters below.  Waking up luxuriously in a cloud of fresh white bedding, NOT to the sounds of youthful exuberance in complete opposition to an adult’s natural alarm clock, but to the sounds of gentle waves overlapping with the rhythm of my slow even breathing and the therapeutic cooing of some kind of tropical dove.  The bright morning sun warming the wood floor boards of our back deck and beckoning us out to play.  We shuffle out to the beach chairs nonchalantly in our flip flops and new beachwear, easily adopting this very relaxed pace of lifestyle.  The chairs freshly swept and the sand raked into perfect little patterns by tan, muscular beach attendants, we read for a few hours and take a break only to cool off in the bath-like water when the moment strikes us.  It is five full days of living only with regard to the next ten minutes in front of us, “Do we feel like snorkelling or kayaking?  Should we have a beer or cocktail with lunch?  Should we watch the sunset from the beach chairs or from the ocean view bar?  Should we drive into the ridiculously little cute town for some local creole food or order room service and eat on our deck while the tropical evening showers serenade us?”  It is five full days of romance and perfection with my man, having absolutely nothing to attend to except one another.  And then we leave and I always wonder why we don’t take these kind of vacations more often.  Strategically, I have completely piqued Liam’s interest in this world of sun, sand, and surf.  Selfishly, we have yet to include him in our island galavanting, but he informed Keegan when we returned that our next family trip is going to be to Hawaii.  I can’t say I had any reason to argue.

Week 32 quick thirty six hour jaunt to Paris.  I always struggle going to these types of places, somewhat cliche, VERY touristy, trying to capture them in a way that a gazillion people haven't already captured them.  I have fun trying though.
IMG_5338 IMG_5347
There's something about Paris in black and white that I have always loved . . . 
IMG_5384 Week 32&335-001 IMG_5374 IMG_5380 IMG_5383 IMG_5377
Maybe just maybe someday I can cross these all off my list!  So far, only 2 . . .
IMG_5386 Week 32&33
Layover in the Dubai Airport . . . beautiful architecture, I must add.  Usually, when I've only been to the airport in a city, I don't count it as a place I've actually visited.  However,  I DO feel as though the absolute magnanimity of this airport and the bling within makes me feel like we kind of got a taste of what Dubai is all about.  Perhaps, I'm wrong.  Definitely worth going back to find out though!  
Week 32&331
And alas, we have arrived.  ON Keegan's birthday no less.  What a perfect way to start!
Week 32&335 Week 32&332 IMG_5412 Week 32&333 Week 32&333-001 Week 32&334
Keegan always tries to give me some line about how he is not cut out for the beach.  Some mumblings and grumblings about pale skin and skinny legs and such.  I don't know about you, but all I see is one hot Beach Babe myself.
IMG_5443 son makes this same face when apparently, I have pointed the camera at his face one too many times . . . 
Typically, when we go on these types of vacation, to quote my brother, we "sit ass."  I always FEEL like we should be doing something but quickly I realize I don't want to miss one single second in the sun, the very good book in which I am immersed at the moment, and the cocktail the waitress just offered to bring to me.  We finally did a hike this time . . . only because it was to a beautiful beach and for that reason alone, made it worthwhile to take time away from our sitting ass.
Week 32&332-001 IMG_5527 IMG_5516 IMG_5512 IMG_5514 Week 32&336-001 IMG_5525 Week 32&33-001 IMG_5552 Week 32&334-001 IMG_5520 Week 32&332-002
It was a very long hike . . . much longer than we originally anticipated as Keegan's selected footwear was the ubiquitous flip flops, but it led to this:
IMG_5548 Week 32&331-001 IMG_5471 IMG_5479
Beautiful.  Gorgeous.  Wish you were here.  The end.