In London

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We’re in London again for Lyra’s eyes. Three weeks away from home and my big kids, and the family that is my heart. But also, three weeks of quiet time with my baby who now has the face of a toddler and will be one in seven days. Three weeks of quiet wandering, of yoga and cups of tea, or museums and old friends and early bedtimes and books and white hotel sheets.

The morning of Lyra’s surgery, we woke well before dawn, our bodies still somewhere between here and home. With hours before our early morning check-in time, we dress and leave the hotel, into the dark of the morning that still feels like night. We walk the length of Oxford street until it changed its name three times and the city neighborhoods shifted, unfolding the story of the city, of class and culture and the  people who live here. It’s quiet and pink, my breath fogs, and Lyra falls asleep. The city’s not yet awake and I like it. I always forget to remember that dawn is the best time to get out into the world.

This time feels different from the trips before. The city doesn’t feel so strange, and the ache of this disease doesn’t sting and stab quite so hard. I don’t feel that gratitude so deep that I believe I can feel the center of the universe and the meaning of all things. We’re easing into this, the swells and swings are normalizing. Anxiety and worries still lurk and wait, seeping out when I'm tired and the baby won't sleep.

 

I’m here in London for a few more days. Then we’re off to Belgium to visit some old friends who we’ve known since we were just two couples, newly married with baby faces. Now we’re parents to three babies each, and how times change and all that.

Life's funny, isn't it. It's nice to be here, but also it's not. I'm excited to be away, but I ache for my home and my family. I'm getting to see old friends and make new ones, travel and see people who feel like family. But my big kids are at home, and not here with me. 

Ten on Ten {September}

Here's another trip back in time as I catch up on my ten on tens for this year. Annnnnd also a confession: these are cobbled together from actually THREE DAYS because I couldn't keep my attention long enough to actually finish ten pictures in one day. I blame jet lag and post-summer reentry. 

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05:35 // Everyone is still up at the crack of dawn, and everyone piles into my bed. The first part I'm not that fond of; the second part I live for.

06:00 Morning rituals part one.

06:22 // Morning rituals part two. Stella reads. Hugo plays cars. Lyra gets in the way.

06:24 // Hugo says, Hey Lyra, get off my road, okay?

07:30 // I have a brilliant idea to keep Lyra contained while I shower: High chair and cheerios. 

07:40 // This idea did not go to plan.

09:04 // Hugo's preschool routine.

09:19 // I found this interesting back street that's devoted to pets and animal shops.

10:31 // Trying to get things done.

12:48 // Trying to get a baby to sleep.

12:51 // An awake baby.

 

 

Ten on Ten {August}

Let's all get into the wayback machine, shall we? Zhooo zhoo zhooo (<-- ps, the sound of time travel) AUGUST!!!

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06:18 // Morning through my bedroom.

06:37 // The kids get up before me and hang out with Papa in the livingroom.

06:38 // They do play quietly and independently when I'm not around. 

06:43 // We eat blueberries for breakfast every morning.

08:15 // Time for a reluctant morning nap.

08:16 // The big one sure does love the little one.

08:26 // The water was really still this morning.

11:16 // We had a visitor in our livingroom. Island life, right? Hugo gave it a name. But because this is coming at you three months late, I've forgotten it. But it was something like Herbert.

12:45 // She wants to swim all day every day even though I'd say it's barely warm enough for bare legs. But then, I remember being the exact same way.

16:22 // Our daily trip across our tiny bay to Uncle Emmet's house, Hugo wearing a "boat coat" that used to be mine.

17:02 // The little ones swim while the grownups talk nonsence, drink beers, ad hang out int he sauna.

17:47 // Ready to go home. Hugo will drive. :)

 

Down to The River {Shoot for Charity}

My first shoot for my charity project in partnership with Orbis International took place right in own neighbourhood. Each year I donate one month of work to a Charity project. And this year I'm working with Orbis, International, an organisation that brings sight-saving treatment to people in the developing world.

I connected with some neighbours, the kind you chat with on playground; the kind you admire but don't yet know why; the kind you wish you knew better. The brief was the kind I like best: capture us here in our home and in our neighbourhood and help us remember this time and this place, our boy's first home as we prepare to leave China behind.

We met at home, while Baby O was waiting for Daddy to come home. We chatted and played as we waited. I learned to say a few words in Czech. We talked about life, our families, our difficulties, and the the beautiful ways that living outside your passport country can stretch and change you. We talked about Lyra and how she's doing, and how lucky we are to get the treatment we do. We got to see each other and realize that it would have been better to know each other like this months earlier. 

And then Daddy came home. And it was all tickles and cuddles and jumping on the sofa. We got ready to go outside, the heat of the day was starting to soften. We walked down past the river, to their favourite bakery and got ice cream. Then we ran up the pathway and watched the boats. We saw a man playing the flute, and remarked that in China there is so much life in public spaces, and yes, we'll miss that. We did what is normal on a Friday evening, we became part of our neighbourhood and participated in the act of living. 

Thanks lovely people, thanks so much for participating in this project with me. Thanks for donating to Orbis, and giving the gift of sight. Thanks for giving the gift of sight. Thanks for helping another beautiful soul to be able to see their neighbours and be able to walk down to their river and watch their boats and participate in their own community. This is a gift that changes lives.

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This Time Like Lightening

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This day has crept up on me without warning. No slow build, no anticipation. I looked at my watch and realized we’re the 14th. Another month has turned. My tiny baby who, in the calendar of my mind is still a floppy mewing thing, is now ten months old.

Time glides along, then skims, then skates, and then gushes and leaks, and we can’t hold it in while also chasing deadlines, making dinner, and meeting the school bus. 

My first baby’s infancy passed at a trickle’s pace. The second was quicker, but still with undisturbed stretches of waveless time. But this is some sort of lighting that I can’t hold onto. I haven’t kept up with her monthly updates. I’ve not managed even a picture a day, not even in my mind. Some days I close my day with just the barest moments of connection: ten seconds of locked eyes and time slows, but then it’s off to stop a fight or worry about dinner or meet someone else’s need.

Even now, I want to stop here, linger over these words, revisit them with a fresh mind. But there’s not a way to march backwards and then come again at this day with a mindfulness I don’t have today. So, I’ll post this. And rush through this day, and this evening. And maybe I’ll get up early tomorrow and meditate. Maybe I’ll slow things down. Or maybe I’ll accept the pace this season demands. Or maybe, most likely, I won’t do any of those things. I’ll chase time, at the behest of modern late-stage capitalism, I’ll build my tiny empire, I’ll put on lipstick and take my kids to school, and run to the grocery store and make dinner. But in a tiny corner of my mind, there’s knowing that this isn’t the way. There’s resisitence.