Sunday, 29 July 2012

Summer in London

While Bethie has been away in DC, summer arrived in London.  Summer in London is brief and exceedingly pleasant, and Charlotte and I have been trying to take advantage of it while it lasts.

We've spent a lot of time at our local parks, which are beautiful and popular.  After a long session in the sandpit, Charlotte cools off with an ice lolly.

Our good friends, the Hallidays, have had us over for several barbecues while Bethie has been away, so Charlotte has had some good time with her best friend, Emily (note the necklaces!).

It's been warm enough that Charlotte has been able to use her summer pyjamas.  They have an elephant on them, and that is clearly their best feature.

Extra days at nursery while Mum is away = additional admirers of her painted toenails.

Fashionable child.

We celebrated a nice day off together yesterday by having dinner at the Sparrowhawk, our favourite Crystal Palace pub.  Charlie has become a great restaurant companion.  She had the pot of catsup and a bowl of peas, I had the burger (which is fantastic!) and the chicken and mash she didn't eat.  She said "cheers" whenever she saw someone raise a glass.  We shared sticky toffee pudding.  Seemed a bit wintry for late July, but chilly weather is always right around the corner here. 

Charlie asks for her Mum several times each day, including first thing each morning.  She gets so excited when I ask her if she wants to see Mum, and she hugs and kisses the iPad when Bethie is on FaceTime with us.  Thankfully, she's home tomorrow!  We can't wait!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Today is the birthday of the most wonderfully amazing person in my life.  
Jason, you are my best friend and my best blessing.  Thank you for all that you do for our little family.  Charlie and I both love you so very much!

Happy birthday, my love!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Missing my little family . . .

Being around so many babies on this trip is making me miss my little family even more than usual.  I've been spending time with my goddaughter, Abby, and her baby sister, Evelyn and there is also a one-and-a-half-year-old at the house where I am staying.  They are all so fun and adorable and it makes me so heartsick for my family!!

My aching for my family is helped a little by looking at pictures and watching videos.  Here are some that I can't get enough of these days.

Jason sent me these pictures of their weekend together:

I am also pretty addicted to this video I took of Charlotte shortly before I left.  She had just finished eating a TON of food and was being so fun and chatty.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cute Stuff Charlie Does

First of all, sorry for being MIA for so long.  I returned from my last trip only two weeks ago and I leave again tomorrow for another trip to be a bridesmaid in a dear friend's wedding.  While I'm in DC, I'll also be doing a recording and three church gigs.  It will be a busy week-and-a-half!

But, I digress.  We're here to talk about cute stuff Charlie does, so here goes:

-She loves to sing and often makes up songs as she plays.  She has also started asking for her favourite songs by name:  "eieioooooo," or "row, row, row" or "baa baa."

-We have been attending "Waggle and Hum" at our local library.  I am constantly amazed at how many British nursery rhymes I don't know and how many Charlotte does know!  Every now and then the librarian will start a song and Charlie will get all excited and start doing the hand motions.  Some of her UK favourites are "Wind the Bobbin Up" and "Round and Round the Garden."

-Charlie is super chatty and though most of her words sound pretty American, she has a very, VERY strong accent on words ending in "r" such as "water" and "butter."

-For some unknown reason, Charlie began swapping the "n" sound for an "m" so that a word such as "down" has now become "dowm."  She has also gone from saying, "sit" to saying "shit."  So where before she said, "sit down" she is now saying, "shit damn."

-Charlie is obsessed with her best friend, Emily.  She talks about her quite often during the day and gets SO excited when we actually get to see her!  When it's time to say goodbye, Charlie howls "EMILAAAAH!" and cries big alligator tears.  Sometimes when she is crying for another reason, she'll also start crying out for her friend as well.

-We've been really working with Charlie on identifying colours.  She was recognising yellow months ago but is now very much obsessed with things that are blue.  And according to Charlotte, nearly everything is blue these days.  Colours she used to recognise (a red bus or a yellow sun, for example) are now blue.  If I say, "find something on this page that is green" she can usually do it, but if you ask her what colour something is, it is (nearly) always blue!
(UPDATE:  Charlie just came up to me with two red toys and said, "red."  Then she showed me a green toy and said, "green" followed by a blue toy while saying, "blue."  Looks like she's turned a corner!  Haha!)

-Charlie is very much into imitating us.  She wants to eat what we eat, sit where we sit and do what we do.  An adorable example of this is when she sees Jason doing sit-ups.  She gets on her hands and knees and bobs her head up and down.  It is so cute!

-Charlie adores her baby doll (thanks, Aunt Annie!).  She loves putting her in her little pushchair (thanks, Mary!) and taking her for strolls around the flat.  She also likes to undress her and change her diaper.  When it is time for bed, Baby is one of the things she absolutely needs to have in the cot with her.  

-We've been working a lot on Charlie's counting skills.  We are constantly counting things out loud and apparently it has paid off!  Yesterday I counted up to three and Charlie said, "four!"  Then, later that day, when I counted up to nine, she yelled "TEN!"  I was so proud of her!

And now for a bit 'ol photo dump from the past two weeks:

waiting for her breakfast at school

laughing at herself in the mirror (that will soon go over the kitchen hole)

having a post-bath colouring session

more colouring

We had an actor/singer/music director friend over for brunch.  He was very good at reading stories!

Jason made homemade donuts (and quiche!) for our brunch.  I must have gained at least five pounds within a three hour time span.

Someone loves her Oatabix.

waving goodbye to Papi from the front window  (Can you see Jason?)

parting is such sweet sorrow 

Jason and I went out on a date to see the play War Horse and then out to dinner as a late Father's Day/early birthday treat (since I was gone/will be gone for both).

Jason took this of Charlotte all dressed up for church while I was in Florida.  I was scanning the pics he took while I was gone and couldn't resist posting this one! 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Back to Normal

Charlie and I have been enjoying getting back to our old schedule.  We've met up with Mary and Emily quite a few times and have hit the park and taken quite a few long walks.  We've also read about 500 books.  Okay, I exaggerate, maybe it was only 350.  Either way, it has been a proper bookfest around here!

In other news, I've finally joined a gym!  It happens to be the same facility where the Brazilian Olympians are training.  Not bad!  They have a creche where Charlie can hang out and the facility itself is pretty amazing; it is absolutely huge.  My favourite part of the entire facility isn't the climbing wall, nor is it the Olympic-sized pool, but a tiny room off a long hallway called the "iPod Room."  It is just what it presents itself to be:  a room without overhead music where you can workout while using your iPod.  It sounds so simple but anyone used to working out in a loud gym can appreciate this.  They also have swimming classes and gym classes for little ones.  I can't wait to get Charlie signed up!

Speaking of Charlie, I know that's why you've come here today.  And this blog isn't anything if it isn't pictures of Charlie at the park, so here goes:

And if you didn't notice, Charlie is wearing red, white and blue for these photos.  HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!  We didn't do anything too festive:  Jason was at a dinner event at work so Charlie and I had "breakfast for dinner" with Mary and Emily (Rob is also gone for work . . . ).  If it weren't for Bonfire Night here in the UK, I would probably be a lot more nostalgic for fireworks on the fourth, but as it is, I had a good time chatting with Mary and watching the girls play.

I'll leave you with a picture of some flowers that Jason got me.  I've been getting flowers on the fourth of every month for the last ten years . . . our first kiss was on the fourth of February, 2002 and Jason has commemorated the day with flowers (nearly) every month since then.  I'm super spoiled, I know, but I think it is just the sweetest thing ever!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Highlights from Florida:

In spite of the cockroaches and brief ant infestation in my dorm room, I had a fabulous time in Florida!  I ADORE the two ladies who were my roommates at USF and had a great time with new and old friends as well.

While I apparently failed to take any pictures worth sharing (mostly self-portraits for Jason and Charlie!) I did manage to get quite a few of my Seraphic Fire friends to try Marmite for the first time on video, which I have uploaded to my new favourite blog:  The Marmite Project.  (Sorry for that run-on sentence, Barb!)

FYI, my adorable roomies are videos #15 and #11.

Speaking of roomies, here is a picture one of my roomies sent to me just the other day.  This is what the three of us (how did we not get a pic of us together?!) looked like just about the entire time we were together:

Highlights from Ohio and Indiana:

It is SO wonderful to be back home with my two favourites, but I sure did have a great trip.  One of the absolute highlights was to see a bunch of my family that I hadn't seen in years!   My Aunt Mary Lou and Father Uncle Dale (my dad's two siblings) took me out on the town one day in Cincinnati (AML drove all the way from Michigan to see me!).  

Uncle Dale treated us to a nice lunch at a restaurant with a gorgeous water view.  I only had my iPhone with me, but I'm hoping the two of them got some decent photos of our visit as well:

We then went on a tour around Cincy.  One of the places we stopped was the church where my parents were married!  Well, at least it was a church when they were married there.  Now it's a parking lot.  Haha!


We also visited my grandparents' graves.  Grandpa Peterka died in 1985 and Grandma Peterka died in 2010.  We used to visit grandpa's grave when we would come to Cincinnati to visit grandma, but this is the first time I had seen grandma's grave.  

I have a nearly identical picture of me in a very similar skirt (but with a Snoopy t-shirt on top!) from when I was eight.

Uncle Dale was able to come to our concert in Cincinnati.  He sent an email around with a review afterwards.  Here is my favourite part of what he wrote:

"The best part of the concert was watching the faces of the performers.
The five of them sat in a semicircle facing the audience, so we couldwatch them play, switch instruments, and enjoy the performances. Theysmiled a lot during the solos, and in general acted like a bunch ofkids jamming in the backyard."

We performed the same show in Indianapolis the next night:

And then we had an abbreviated family concert on Saturday morning.  Aunt Mary Lou drove all the way from Michigan to see me again and this time brought my cousin Kathy!!  We had a fantastic time catching up:

I'm super bummed that I didn't get any group photos with my fellow musicians, but alas, we were pretty busy rehearsing when we were together!  Maybe next time.  ;)
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