Hello! Its so nice to be back and writing! I have been struggling with what to write as we say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018. There is so much to say about saying goodbye to London and there is so much to share about our new adventures in Hoboken, NJ! As I sit here and reflect on 2017, I feel like I'm going to start by saying goodbye to London. I believe in closure and reflection on the past as you prepare for the future.
I cannot write about saying goodbye to Chiswick without talking about the friends we made there. I don't even have the words to explain the friendships and the impact that they will have on us. While you are out and about, the minute you hear an American accent, you know you will be friends. You immediately start talking, sharing experiences, and helping each other navigate through life in Chiswick. We said goodbye to friends who we have been a part of every major event in our lives for the past couple of years. We have laughed together, we have cried together, we have complained to each other, we have loved each other's children, and we have helped each other through tough times. We also made new British friends who were willing to open their lives to us Americans and welcome us into their circles for whatever amount of time we were going to be there. Its hard and time consuming to make new friends especially when you have other obligations. I know the wonderful British friends we made, will be our friends for a very long time and we will be back to visit them. Our friends is what made our time in London priceless and we love our London family dearly.
There are so many fun parts of living in London and we were so much more comfortable that we had an exciting year. We were able to have so many new experiences and be exposed to so many fun things! We went to a Polo match with lots of friends where we drank Pimms, stomped divots, and cheered on the polo players. We took Mom to Windsor Castle and the horse races. We also visited the Sky Gardens, even managed to make it to Sky Gardens for yoga at 6 am. We went to the Gherkin and the Shard. The views of London are stunning and never get old! I love Borough market and the amount of food you can try. Oh, I have a love/hate relationship with the fun fairs that show up at the parks several times a year. The kids love them and beg to go but they are way expensive. There are so many attractions for kids too. We took the kids to Lego land for Sebastian's 5th birthday and went to Shrek Adventures as their Christmas Present. We also celebrated Jason's 40th birthday at our neighborhood pub. We took Taryn to see Annie which was fantastic! We also tried so many good restaurants and took more pictures of our food than I realized. I ran three 10ks races. I also learned so much about wine through the West London School of Wine. I even got to take my mom and dad to wine classes. We continued to spend lots of time at the river: running, watching the Cambridge and Oxford boat race, and lots of walks. We have also explored lots of parks in London. In 2017 we went to Holland Park, Hyde Park, Olympic Park, Putt Putt in the Park, and Osterly Park. We ended 2017 with a bang! We stood on Westminster Pier and watched the amazing fireworks show with our dear friends!
One of my favorite things about London is the flowers and trees that are everywhere. So many different flowers that you see and the beauty that surrounds you. It made walking everywhere so much better. We tried to stop and take pictures as enjoyed the nature around us.
We got to experience different holidays. We celebrated Mother's Day in March. We went to an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Monday. We saw fantastic fireworks for Guy Fawks day at a local chruch with a bonfire. We have Boxing Day after Christmas with amazing sales!
In 2017, we traveled all over Europe and the UK. It was amazing and one of my most favorite parts of living in Europe. Jason and I are committed to continue to travel now that we are back in the States. I was fortunate enough to take two girls trip to Bordeaux and Nice in France. I loved them both! I really need to learn French. We also went to Paris twice with friends. We climbed to the top to the Eiffel tower, saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and explored the Monmarte neighborhood. We had an amazing trip in the spring to Hellsinki, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. We flew from London to Hellsinki then took an overnight river cruise from Hellsinkito Stockholm, the train from Stockholm to Copenhagen, then plane from Copenhagen back to London. Of all the places we went, this was my favorite trip. We explored museums, forts, amusement parks, zoos, shopping, boats, and lots of eating! We also did a little more traveling wtihin the UK. We went to Edinburgh for a weekend and loved exploring the castle and hiking Arthur's point. We went to York and Warwick Castle. We also took day trips to Cambridge and Brighton. We went to Amsterdam with 1000s of other people to see the blooming tulips. It was overwhelming with all the people but the most beautiful sight too. While we were in Amsterdam, we also took a canal tour and ate some awesome pancakes. I came back to New York to meet my family to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday. It was so much fun and we did all the touristy things in NYC. (At the time of the trip, we did not think we would be moving here. So crazy how fast things change!) We couldn't leave Europe without squeezing in one more beach trip so off to Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was beautiful! We saw the most stunning views while walking the old walls. We explored the carless old city and the kids ate lots of pizza. We enjoyed our quick getaway to the sunshine! We also squeezed in a 24 hour trip to Cologne for the Christmas markets. We bought tons of ornaments and lots of Christmas goodies. Mom and I also enjoyed our Baileys and Hot Chocolates.
Life is not complete without all the kids activities and school projects! First, Jillian started reception! Its hard to believe all three of my babies where in school together. We had our school projects for the 2017 year: Mars, Easter bonnets, Roman Shield, and recycle art. We also did pictures in a studio at Snappy Snaps which the kids absolutely loved, even more than the outside pictures they grudgingly take ever year. We also had field day where the kids compete in several races. Taryn and Sebastian did the long jump. Taryn raced the obstacle course and Sebastian did the race with the ball on the racquet. We of course run all over doing activities too. Sebastian played and quit football several times over the year. Taryn learned to play the piano and improved significantly. Jillian did gymnastics and loved it! All three swam and each hit many milestones. They have learned so much in London and have found many talents. They have also learned about their weaknesses and that they are not perfect. Its ok not to be perfect, but give everything a go. I hope, "Can I give it a go?" stays in their vocabulary forever!
London, and specifically Chiswick, you hold a special place in our hearts and have changed us. We cherish the friendships that were made and will hold all our friends in our hearts. Everyone's faces light up whenever we talk about London.
Enjoy our 2017 pictures!