Saturday, February 25, 2012

Verde Huevos y Jamon

We've been sooooooo so busy. Whew. Little bits of Spring seem to be creeping into our space. Snowdrop coated spaces, the buds are swelling on the magnolia tree and the grass looks just that little bit greener. Not that I expect it to last. We still have March to get through before the nice weather will set in in earnest in these parts.

I would like to share with you a little home school joy!

I'm not sure why I never thought of it- or have never heared of it before- but the girls decided they were getting a bit of Rosetta Stone Fatigue (an illness that makes you whine when its you're turn to get on the computer for your Spanish lesson) so they chose books from the picture book section of our multitude of book shelves to translate into Spanish! They have had so much fun, the excitement during Spanish lessons is palpable.

So for last week Kitty has been translating a book called George and the Dragon by Christopher Wormell.  It is a gorgeous story about a mouse named George who moves in next to a dragon. It is very British in its situations and language (George declares "Oh blow!" when the dragon cant lend him sugar for his cup of tea) and completely charming. It has always been one of Kitty's favorite story books and I couldn't count the number of times I discovered her reading it to her sisters.

Esther has been translating Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. That has been so much fun. I cannot get out of my head : "Yo no gusto verde huevos y jamon. Yo no gusto Sam I Am."  I'm driving my family nuts every time I spontaneously burst into Seuss en Espanol.

 BTW I am Loving this months Mollie Makes. Best issue yet!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And now... Breathe

Im finding it difficult to remember that its still only February; so much has happend since New Years I feel like I havn't touched ground since I started running full pelt on the 2nd of January.  The last week has been- if possible- the busiest days of the whole year. (Considering the year has included planning a month long trip accross the pond in two days you can appreciate how busy I've been this week)

  Today however three huge tasks have been finished, which is to say we have taken the first step in a 3000 mile journey. I want to shout to everyone I know about it and about how excited Matt, the girls and I are however...

I'm so deeply aware that our joy is going to worry several people dear and close to us.  Additionally a journey of 3000 miles is not walked in day; the thought of all our friends asking frequently how things are going/how long/etc makes me refrain in case I become like the pregnant woman who is overdue and fed up with the 'You still with us then?' quiries. Watch this space, I will let you know when we are showing signs.

So today after an insane amount of teaching, doing, planning, writing, talking, calling and cleaning I've finally gotten time to sit down with my sketch book and do something just for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Any Day But Valintines Day

We just don't do it. We used to when we were young, impressionable and stupid. The card, the chocolate, the wine, dinner, a gift.

We grew up a bit and realised that when we planned a 'romantic' night it usually ended in a lethargic yawn or argument.

So now we just love each other without setting up expectations of perfection- every day.

364 days a year.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Paul Ray Downs- 1981

I have with a heavy heart been in America to say farewell to my loving, kind and generous brother Paul.
 Though we have lived 5000 miles apart for 15 years I knew when we spoke (or on the rare occasions when I got out to the states to visit) it would be like we never had been away.

It was astonishing to see the number of people who came to his funeral. He had a knack of making everyone he met feel at ease, listened to and accepted. He talked to complete strangers and never judged them by the way they looked, lived or spoke.

Matt the girls and I had the great pleasure of spending time with our family and Paul's for almost a month.  It was so wonderful to be together.  My sister-in-law and niece and nephew are stunningly special. And the truth about funerals is that the time you spend mourning with other people who knew your loved one is sweet despite the sorrow: reliving memories, listening to other's memories and celebrating a life lost.

In our time there we finally found a moment to sort though boxes of my Mom's things which were stored in Paul's basement since she died in '06. In them we found so many wonderful memories and treasures! Including over 300 photographic slides dating from the 60's to the 80's. I was determined to get these photos to a usable condition and after much trawling and searching I narrowed down my choices to a small (1/2 lb loaf size) digital camera box which allows you to make digital copies of negatives and slides. There were many many options but based on my research and customer reviews we chose this one.

The results have exceeded my wildest expectations! The photos capture all the charm of the slides with a clarity that blows my mind away. The greatest pleasure comes from seeing the faces I've loved and lost suddenly showing new expressions.  It is the the most precious gift I could have recieved.