Category Archives: London

Third Eye View

Yesterday took Sarah back to Brooklyn.  She was here romping around the city and having tea with us for a whole month.  It went by so quickly. We all had a wonderful time with her while she was here and were sad to see her go.  But, now she is off to start a REAL job, with benefits and everything and to keep working on her own apartment.  Hopefully this summer we will see her in New York.

She left behind many wonderful photographs.  Having someone along for the ride to take pictures of you is so wonderful.  So many things happen with kids I would love to capture but my thoughts are on damage control and not photos.  Having Sarah who makes her wages photographing things is even better.

This post contains some (just a few) of her iPhone shots over the month including some from Barcelona.  She also took many photos with her “real” camera which once edited and made presentable will also be displayed here.  We also have some great photos from Barcelona to share, but I will save them for a new post.  This one is already sagging in the photo middle.

Barcelona was a huge hit.  The kids were amazing and major troopers.  The walked everywhere, saw all the sights and had a great time.  We soaked up the sun and played in all the dirt.  Literally, all the dirt.  Every time I turned my back there was Mette sitting on the ground making piles of dirt and sifting it through her hands.  At the Miro museum, which was AMAZING!, we stopped for a coffee in the cafe.  The kids played it the grass and dirt while we relaxed.  At one point eric wandered over to check on them and asked Mette what she was doing.  Without looking up she replied, “I am making art.”  Both kids were awed by the Miro museum.  It was an amazing display of an incredible collection.  Otto was most taken with the sculptures and wanted to know all about them.  Mette really responded to the colors of some of his later pieces.  I thought they would be totally bored and in fact they loved it.  Go kids!!!

Otto is in fact really showing an interest in sculpture.  I guess he comes by that naturally.  Today at the British Museum he wanted to know all about all the sculptures in the Great Reading room.  We talked a lot about Greek and Roman gods, Jupiter, Mars, Venus etc..  I think he is ready to spend some time in the workshop getting a first hand account of how this is all done.  Luckily that is a easy thing to do once we get home to the States.

Getting home.  Ah, yes.  Just being away in Barcelona made coming home to London feel good.  Funny how quickly you change like that.  I can only imagine how wonderful it will feel when we are finally back in good ole Pa.

 

Until then we will have to take as many last minute trips to the British Museum, ride on double decker buses, order Thai food from the place around the corner, window shop on Oxford Street, drool through the Liberty Store, run around Coram’s Field, have pain au chocolat and amazing espresso from Store Street, eat brunch at the Shoreditch House on Sundays…  It’s rough.

 

*note*  there are a few photos in the middle that insist on being sideways.  I have turned them, and they turn back.  Wordpress is not working with me on these.  it annoys me too, sorry.

 

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Switched

I am my mother’s child in many ways, however I pride myself on knowing my right from my left.  That being said, living here for six months is going to mess me up in ways I did not anticipate.

 

Sure, they drive on the other side of the street here, the wrong side.  But that is nothing.

 

The light switches.  To turn them off, you switch them up.  I know,  crazy!

 

Despite the millions of doors making everything more fire safe, all doors open in.  Want to enter a shop, push.  Going out of a building?  PULL.  I was always under the impression that reason all doors open out was so if there was a fire, people wouldn’t crush each other trying to get out of the building.

 

there will be more to this series, i am just too confused to remember right now.

 

for your viewing pleasure, mette getting a frozen yogurt and oreo treat while yarn shopping with me last week.

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Catch Up…

I should say that my mother was very good not to mention my lack of posting yesterday while we were skyping.  The students arrived in London last weekend and classes started this week.  Even though I don’t actually have anything to do with the students or teaching, somehow I am always exhausted and out of time the first week of classes too.  We have been keeping busy going to museums galore.  We have enjoyed the V&A museum, the Science Museum and of course many trips to the British Museum.

Mette had her first swimming class last week.  It was FREEZING!!  But, she loved it and did great.  I should have known when the teacher was wearing a wet suit.  I will have to really psych myself up for class this week.  Otto is still loving his trampolining class.  I went today for the first time and really, all they do is jump on the trampoline.  It is awesome.  He was doing a great job of listening and seemed to have a great time as well.

Long time family friend, Nathaniel, is visiting us this weekend/week from St. Andrew’s in Scotland where he is on break until classes start up again soon.  Otto has attached himself to his side and is teaching him all about Legos.  Nat is the uncle he never knew he was 🙂

We are all holding up quite well.  Mette somehow managed to get pink eye yesterday.  On a Sunday, of course.  Never do kids get sick on Tuesday morning.  We called the nurse hotline and felt safe waiting until this morning for her to be seen.  Mette was terrified she was going to turn pink until we explained that it was only her eyes that were an issue.  We went to the swankiest private practice ever.  It was crazy.  But the doctor was nice, saw her right away and prescribed drops to clear it up.  She has had a round already as well as ointment before bed.  By tomorrow she should look much better.  The hardest part of  the whole ordeal has been washing everything.  I have been pushing the limits of how fast you can dry things here.  The important things, Bibi, Bacch-a-moe, Sinah and her sheets were all ready at bedtime.  The rest can wait!

The doctor was in Marleybone which is a super ritzy neighborhood really close to here.  The houses were amazing.  We are going to go back just to walk around and take pictures.

The kids have been REALLY into crafts lately.  I have had to find all sorts of things for them to create with.  The walls are starting to fill with drawings which makes it feel much more homey.  We made playdough last week and finally found some elmer’s type glue and construction paper.  As well as the required “googly eyes”  that Otto needed.

Below are some of the photos I have been meaning to share….  More to come hopefully soon!

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Pesto Pasta

What have I been feeding my children?  Every night I smear their chests and backs with eucalyptus and chamomile rub to help soothe their nighttime coughs.  And every night as soon as the oil makes contact with their smooth skin they giggle and say “I smell like pest pasta.”

 

I can not for the life of me figure out why they think it smells like pesto pasta, but it is very charming how much it makes them giggle.  Otto’s cold is really on it’s way out.  A few coughs here and there, but mostly fine.  Mette has had me toy with the idea of taking her to the dr. every day.  And every day she is just not quite there yet.  She is happy and cheerful and not at all “sick.”  She has had a few fevers, but they were never that high and went away quickly.  She has a nasty sounding cough, but when have my kids ever been sick and not had a cough??  They are Storb’s after all.  Having colds linger in our chests is just something we do.  It goes along with our poor communication skills and grumpiness.  Not that I am ever grumpy….

 

So, we have been taking it easy here.  Small trips here and there, but a lot of coloring, legos and tea parties.  We did make a second voyage out to the Unpackaged store.  I love that store so much.  This time I bought whole wheat flour, quinoa, brown basmati rice, unsulphored apricots, dried apples, strawberry jam (i even brought an empty almond butter jar to put it in!!!) bay leaves, apples and the best pears ever.  Everything is organic and wonderful.  Oh, I also picked up a delicious loaf of bread.  It all fit in my backpack as we took the bus back home.  It was a beautiful sunny day as the kids and I walked hand in hand to the bus stop exploring the sweet neighborhood where the store is located.  It was moments like that morning that make you remember why you decided to pack up your whole family, leave behind your wonderful home and darling kitties to spend half a year exploring a new city.

 

It has been nice having  a few slow days to just hang, but I am getting a little twitchy.  I can’t paint any walls or trim here, if I was home I would have at least touched up some trim home these past few days.  There isn’t really furniture to rearrange.  I don’t have a sewing machine or material, no knitting needles….  I could use a project.  I of course have a button to sew back on and pants to hem for eric.  But they aren’t exciting projects and it is easy to put them off.  I am thinking I might try to find an embroidery project.   I really want to do one of these, but they of course aren’t available yet.  Perhaps a new knitting project.  Goodness knows I should be able to find some good yarn store here!

 

I will leave you with this picture.  Lately when Mette goes to sleep she asks if she can make a gunship in her bed.  She clearly is spending too much time with Otto 🙂  Basically a gunship is when you take all your covers, make a big nest in the middle of your bed and then sleep upside down.  This is usually what she looks like when I come in later to return her to the proper end of the bed and tuck her in.

 

 

 

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Yo Sushi!

You may already know, but Otto LOVES sushi.  Mette, who is a much pickier eater, also likes it quite a bit.  In fact they both seem to like all things Japanese.  Who can blame them really?  In the shopping center where the closest big grocery store is there is a Yo Sushi! restaurant that Otto longs for every time we walk by.  For the month of January they are offering a 40% off deal if you order “off the belt” and join their club.

 

So, yeah, we joined the club and went there for dinner last night.  The way it works is there is a long winding bar with stools throughout the restaurant.  There is a long circular conveyor belt that carries small dishes of various menu items.  Each plate is a different color that corresponds to the price.  When you see something you like, you pick it up and eat it.

 

Just like that.

 

Do I need to say that this was a huge hit with both the kids??

 

Above you can see Otto polishing off one of his plates with the belt coming his way.

Below is a bowl of shelled edamame with dishes flying by in the background.

 

 

Prior to eating sushi Otto had his first class at the “Y”.  He chose to sign up for trampolining.  Just like what it sounds like, it is a chance to jump on the trampoline.  I stayed home with Mette but from the stories told by Eric and Otto it was a huge hit.  It sounds like the other kids are doing trickier things and perhaps listen to the teachers better, but when it is Otto’s turn he bounces away with a huge grin on his face.  He is happy, the teacher is fine with that, works for us.  He was T-I-R-E-D after class.  The ultimate goal of all things Otto these days.  If he doesn’t run enough he starts to bounce off the walls.

 

Mette was up in the night last night with a fever last night.  She seemed great this morning and stayed chipper long after her Motrin had warn off but then this afternoon wasn’t doing as well.  Her fever hasn’t come back but I spent 40 minutes on the phone with the insurance company this evening learning all the steps to go through to take them to the dr. here and finding a doctor close by that should work.  I will call in the morning and see if we can get them in soon.  I would feel better if someone looked in their ears.  They are both prone to ear infections and I don’t want to be rushing them to urgent care if we don’t have to.  Because of that, we have been lying low around here today.  Otto seems a congested too and over dinner his ears were itching and buzzing he said.

 

Germs, they are everywhere.  Ugh.

 

The upside, if we can get an appt at the doctor I found, I get to walk by restaurant row to get there.  Eric suggested I look for a place where we could go on a date!!  We even got some babysitter recommendations from a friend here!!

 

note:  for those who don’t follow my Facebook, we met friends for brunch on Sunday at the Shoreditch House which was amazing.  The company was great, they are all people eric knows over email/web but we had never met in person, the place is awesome!!  And, at 10:00 there is a playroom with wonderful staff and lots of toys and art supplies to entertain the kids.  Our hosts have a daughter who will turn 4 in feb so RIGHT between Otto and Mette in age.  It was such a lovely morning.  We have been invited back, they do this every sunday, and we will be going back for sure.  Mette keeps talking about the drawing she made with the “ladies”.  It is hanging on the wall in the living room.  They gave her scissors and a glue stick.  Possibly the fastest way to her heart, after chocolate of course.

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Break ’em like race horses

This morning we took the kids for their first real trip to the YMCA.  This time we weren’t just there to fill our paperwork, we were there to swim.  There is a family swim time on Saturday mornings so we packed up swim suits, towels, goggles, extra clothes and whatever else we could find and headed over.  The pool was a big success.  Otto was a bit timid at first.  The pool doesn’t really have a shallow end where he can stand so it took him a while to warm up.   But he did and once he was feeling comfortable, he had a blast.  It just shows that taking him to the pool more over the winter will be good to keep him swimming.  I don’t want him to regress on all of the amazing progress we made last summer.  Keeping him in the water will help with that I am sure.  Mette had a blast too, of course, our resident fish.  She is signed up for swim classes starting on Wednesday and Otto has Trampolining on Mondays.  Should be a lot of fun.

 

In the locker room today I went to dry my hair and Mette who usually runs in fear from the sound of the hair dryer came up and wanted her hair dried.  Then once she was done, she found a hair dryer (they have banks of them there for you to use, and a really nice straightener!!) that was low enough for her and turned it on and was drying some more!!!  Tonight after her bath she asked if I could dry her hair.  We have entered a new phase.  Otto seeing Mette getting her hair done needed his too!  Luckily his take about 30 seconds.  Too funny those kids.

 

We came home for lunch and then since it was a sunny and fairly warm day, we decided to head out again.  This time to a BIG PARK.  We took the kids to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens.  It was awesome.  How could it not be??  It is a quick bus ride away.  The bus picks us up across the street from our flat, takes us to the park gates and drops us off just around the corner from the flat.  (our street is one way so pick up and drop off can’t be in the same place)

 

I should say we did an amazing job of tiring out the kids today, so much so that eric and I are both completely beat too.  I will share some photos quickly and then I am going to sign off.

 

Well, there is one other funny thing.  Mette wiped from the pool fell asleep on the way to the park while being carried.  She was dead asleep in eric’s arms when we reached the park gates.  We were joking with Otto about how there was a fence around the park and how were we going to get in, when she popped her head up and said “we could jump over it, like kangaroos!!!”  Just when you think she is out…. she fools you once again!

 

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Prince Charmin

Today the kids were playing one of their many games of Cinderella.  Mette has the shoes and the dress ready to go at all times in case any impromptu games form.

 

As is often the case, Mette came into the room carrying her dress, dressed in underwear only having previously stripped off what was easily the third outfit of the morning, it was not even 9 a.m..  She requested help getting her dress on because she was going to be Cinderella since she has the perfect dress, of course.  Otto came in the room and said,

“I am going to be the prince.  I am perfect for the part.  One, I am a boy.  Two, I have one of the shirts (hands smoothing down over said shirt) with the buttons

so you can see their chest.  Princes wear shirts like this, don’t they mama?  Polo shirts are good for Princes, yeah, so you can see their chests, or is it my

stomach?”

 

There is only one answer to that question.  YES, Princes always wear polo shirts so you can see their chests.  Of course!!!

 

They then went off to dance and then act out the scene where the clock strikes 12 and Mette runs off dropping a shoe while Otto runs after her yelling “but wait, I didn’t catch your name!”

 

A few months ago Mette requested that Grandpa build her a stage.  I thought it was funny, but the more I watch them play the more I think they would really love one.  When we get back this summer one of my goals is to rework the third floor to make it work better for them as they get older.  I was hoping to build (er, have grandpa build 🙂 ) a larger dress-up box with hooks and a mirror.  I think perhaps I will try to make a stage type area.  As well as designing a new and improved LEGO station and a bigger craft and play kitchen area.

 

Today Otto is a bit sniffly and has a bit of a cold so we are laying low.  We walked to the grocery store (a good walk for little legs), got stamps so we can finally mail the thank you cards we wrote, got a smoothie treat and headed home.  Now we are going to lay around the flat and enjoy a slow day.  I am hoping to get some cooking done and lounging.  I am glad they are feeling slower today because I got up early and went to the gym today and I will be honest, I am feeling a bit slow too.  I anticipate not being able to walk up or down stairs tomorrow.  A feeling that hurts so good!

 

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