Monday, June 12, 2017

Happy 40th, Assia!

It's Assia's 40th Birthday!  She wanted a low key day but Kristen and I couldn't let the day go by without celebrating!  We had the Fanslers over for dinner along with Assia and Alain.  It was yet another adventure in expat life.

We had a hard time getting the grill going and so dinner was a few hours late. The first cake Kristen made collapsed - apparently we are all still struggling with exactly how the ovens over here cook. Seems that the cakes (mine included) burn on the edges and collapse in the middle. I was so relieved when she told me that; it made me feel like I wasn't the only one struggling with the baking situation. I will say though her second cake was AMAZING (and time consuming). Thanks Kristen!

The kids played and the adults laughed about some of the daily struggles.  Mostly we celebrated new friendship.  Too bad I didn't get a picture of all of us.

Happy Birthday, Assia! We are thankful for your friendship....

40 Wishes

Assia, Alan and Alain

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

And He's Off....

One of the big differences in school here is the field trips the children go on. There is so much history within driving distance.  Grayson's year 5 class left today to go up to Telford for 4 days! That's right, 4 days of not talking to my Grayson.  They are visiting all sorts of sights related to the Industrial Revolution. I caught that Iron Gorge was one of them and that they will be taking a ride on a steam train.  I know he'll have a great time, but the next few days will be quiet on the home front.

He looks so grown up!

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Our second stop in our trip to Kent was to Canterbury. What a neat town!  We enjoyed strolling the streets and again admired how all the streets centered around the Cathedral. Such a reminder that truly our lives should center around God and how often they don't.  

We wanted the children to see the Canterbury Cathedral...the web does a much better job than I can of explaining it's significance.  I also knew that someday their English teacher would want them to read The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. It is the tales of pilgrims who came to visit the shrine to Thomas Beckett (which is pictured below).

Canterbury Cathedral is the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury

Christianity had started to become powerful in the Roman Empire around the third century. Following the conversion of Augustine of Hippo in the 4th century, the influence of Christianity grew steadily.[2] The cathedral's first bishop was Augustine of Canterbury, previously abbot of St. Andrew's Benedictine Abbey in Rome; when other dioceses were founded in England he was made archbishop. He was sent by Pope Gregory the Great in 596 as a missionary to the Anglo-Saxons. Augustine founded the cathedral in 597 and dedicated it to Jesus Christ, the Holy Saviour.[3] (Wikipedia)

It's hard to tell from the pictures that the cathedral has both Mideval and Roman architecture. Apparently King Henry VIII had the tomb (bones) of Thomas Beckett burned.  

A pivotal moment in the history of the cathedral was the murder of the archbishop, Thomas Becket, in the north-west transept (also known as the Martyrdom) on Tuesday, 29 December 1170, by knights of King Henry II. The king had frequent conflicts with the strong-willed Becket and is said to have exclaimed in frustration, "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" Four knights took it literally and murdered Becket in his own cathedral. After the Anglo-Saxon Ælfheah, Becket was the second Archbishop of Canterbury to be murdered.
The posthumous veneration of Becket made the cathedral a place of pilgrimage. This brought both the need to expand the cathedral and the wealth that made it possible. (Wikipedia)

The memorial to where Thomas Beckett was murdered by King Henry II's soldiers.

The gardens in the back of the cathedral were absolutely gorgeous.

Friday, June 2, 2017

White Cliffs

This has been on my list since we moved to England. I have always wanted to see the White Cliffs of Dover. Once we confirmed that there was no rain in the forecast, we got in the car and went. They were absolutely breathtaking. It was a bit hazy outside, but ever so slightly in the distance we could make out the shore line of France. We enjoyed a hike along the path. Unfortunately we did not make it all the way down to the lighthouse, but did make it a fair distance.  

Dover Castle

The largest castle in England - Dover's Castle. Dover is the gateway into England and the largest port city. Many thought the D-Day attacks would come  from here as it is the closest point to France. The attacks however did not originate from here and caught every one by surprise. 

We were able to tour the castle, climb to the top and get a view of the underground wartime tunnels.  Fascinating history.

Love Gayson's photo bomb!

Michaela pointing in the distance towards France.

Stunning view from the top.
The Throen
The kids loved the cannons. Here they are pretending to be cannon balls. The pictures where there fingers are on their heads, well, that is the fuse. Michaela was running up and down the path exploding.

Then there was the catapult. We wondered what all they sent over the wall. Michaela of course wondered if any humans were sent flying over the wall.


Along our journey, we came across the painting. The kids asked about it and Jamison told them it was the U.K.'s star being taken off of the E.U. flag.  I have not learned too much of the politics and what all happened, but felt that I needed to document this for the kids as in their lifetime it is a historic event.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Paultons Park

According to trip advisor, the UK's #1 theme park, Paultons Park, is just down the road from us in Romsey. The kids have been begging me to take them ever since they heard about it at school. The half term break started out rainy and by the time the sun came out I thought about taking them to a castle on the beach.  Michaela protested loudly, "Mom, I am tired of castles."  So, I surprised them with Plan B, Paultons Park. 

I must admit I was a bit concerned taking them by myself as I knew Grayson would want to do all the roller coasters and I wasn't sure what Michaela would be tall enough to ride. Turns out she could ride everything and she LOVED all of them. I have another coaster monster on my hands.  We rode roller coasters for 5 hours. At the end of the day, we were all a bit motion sick and tired.

Perfect, fun afternoon with the kids.

On the swings. You had to be 7 to ride unaccompanied, so Michaela and I rode in the tandem swing behind the other two.