It's actually been sunny for quite a few days here and we are soaking up every minute of it. I don't really consider myself a hot weather kind of person. I get hot very easily. I also cannot stand to be cold. I like it somewhere right in the middle.
But living in England has made me realize that I never want to live somewhere so rainy. I absolutely love it here, but the weather can be a drag. So, we've been soaking up every single bit of sunshine we can get around here. Summer only lasts a few weeks, so we have to enjoy it while we've got it.
Lunch outside has become daily routine around here. And with out new picnics blankets, it feels all vintage and English. I know...I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel. Since I can't, I just pretend. And the picnic blankets help. :)
The Royal Tattoo is something that Colin has wanted to see for a few years now. It's super expensive and it's only on for about 3 nights, so you have to book early and this year we actually got the tickets. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Tattoo, it's a song, dance, cavalry & artillery performance of the British military and some of its allies. It's a display of the best of the best in military horsemanship and showmanship. It really was a neat sight to see. So many things you just wouldn't see even if you were in the military. Let's take a peek, shall we?
This is Windsor castle, a castle we've been wanting to see. Hopefully we'll get to see it next month when we go to Legoland. This time, we were here just for the show and it was already about 7 pm anyway. :)
We sat opposite the Queen's box. To our right was the orchestra and stage for the choir. They also had 2 huge screens set up for videos and montages about the military. Although the Queen wasn't there, the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward was. It was kinda neat sitting 100 feet from royalty and watching him salute the troops all night.
There were lots of cavalry performances. I didn't think the arena was all that big, but these guys took all these cannons (and more!) around the arena in a figure eight at full speed. It was really intense and I so wish we'd brought the video camera!
Noodle absolutely hated the cannons. She cried and cried, poor thing. I managed to calm her down, but she was very wary and not so smiley after that.
The bagpipes were amazing. I get all goosebumpy when I hear them. It makes me feel like I'm Braveheart! :) During the last half of the music, a group of dancers appeared and performed a few jigs and traditional dances. They were so pretty.
There was also a little show put on by a bunch of newly graduated soldiers that involved bad guys, good guys, a kidnapping, lots of machine gun fire, and napalm. Ok, not real napalm, but holy beans it was loud. In the end the hostage was rescued and the bad guys were blown up. Kinda cheesy, but I guess it was a valid way for them to shoot at each other and to bring out all the cool vehicles. The hovercraft was especially popular.
The Danish soldiers were so cool. Hands down, they were the tightest group out there and their timing and performance were so amazing. They did all these amazing ripple and wave effects witht heir rifles while they stood in a circle facing outward. They couldn't actually see each other, but their timing was perfect. The entire crowd was silent the whole time, in complete awe at their precision. My favorite thing, though, is how they look like little toy soldiers. I want one of those uniforms! :)
The final band to perform (for the first time at the Tattoo also) was the steel drum band from Trinidad. They did a little medley of Bob Marley songs and the whole crowd was clapping along. At the end of their performance a girl limboed under a flaming stick that was only a foot off the ground. Pretty crazy.
It was a pretty late night for us. The show was supposed to end at 10:30 but we didn't get out of there til 11:15 and then we had a 2 hour drive home. We were starving about halfway through the drive so we stopped at a restaurant and had a mini dinner. Who knows what everyone was thinking about us with 3 kids in tow at the middle of the night. :)
It seems that discipline in my work life doesn't fit in so well with my play time. Hence the neglected blog. But it does feel really good to get a lot of work done (and some of it before deadline, I might add!)
We've had a few trips and today is a certain someone's birthday.
I have lots of photos to edit and then they will be posted shortly. Still have lots of work to do for 2Ps and Songbird, but I'm leaving for Santorini on Sunday for a much needed girly weekend with a friend and I have to get all my work done and blogging done so that when I come back on Tuesday I can blog about black sand beaches, guilt free!
I hope everyone is having a lovely day! :)
It's something I've been lacking lately. It's been too easy, while working at home, to do laundry, watch an old Grey's Anatomy on Itunes, or catch up on blogs. Or I simply walk away from the computer altogether.
It's really too tempting.
I wish I had the discipline to sit at my desk and go down my to-do list, one by one, and tick things off.
I know I could do it if I set my mind to it, but it seems I am easily distracted.
I am seriously lacking in the self-motivation department.
It seems that on days like this, Zen Habits always reads my mind. Whenever something is weighing heavily on me, even when I can't quite pinpoint what is bothering me, I always find answers there.
So, since I have no words of wisdom on the subject, I will simply relay what I read this morning and I hope it helps anyone who is feeling a little out of control in the "getting things done on time" department.
One of the biggest problems people face is the lack of discipline — they have goals or habits they want to achieve, but lack that discipline needed to stick with it.
Then we beat ourselves up about it. We feel crappy because we can’t stick with it.
And that leads to more failure, because we’re forming a mindset that we don’t have the necessary discipline.
Here’s what to do when you face a situation like this:
1. Forgive yourself. You aren’t perfect. No one is. Realize that beating yourself up will only make things worse. Take a few slow, deep breaths and let it go. Forgive yourself. And move on.
2. Realize that discipline is an illusion. While discipline is a common concept, it doesn’t actually exist. It’s not a thing you can actually do. Think about it: people say discipline is pushing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. But how do you do that? What skill is required? There isn’t a skill — it’s just forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do. And that requires … some kind of motivation. Without motivation, you won’t be able to force yourself to do anything. So motivation is the key concept — and this is something that’s real, that you can actually learn how to do.
3. Focus on motivation. What’s your motivation for pursuing the goal or habit? How will you sustain the motivation when you struggle? Have very strong motivations for doing something, and write them down. Commit publicly. When things get tough, remind yourself of your motivation. Focus on it. It’ll pull you along — that’s more powerful than trying to focus on the push of discipline.
4. Make it easy. Discipline is tough because whatever the task or habit you’re trying to do is tough. Instead, make it easy. Remove barriers. Having a hard time exercising? Make it ridiculously easy, by only exercising for 5 minutes. What use is exercising for 5 minutes? You’re creating the habit, not getting yourself into shape overnight. The 5 minutes of exercise will have only a tiny impact on your health, but it makes exercise super easy. If you can do that 30 days in a row, you now have an exercise habit. Hate waking up early to go to the gym? Do it at home. Do it during lunch or after work.
5. Focus on enjoyment. It’s hard to push yourself — to have discipline — when you hate doing something. So find something enjoyable about the activity. If you don’t look forward to exercise, find some good music, or a workout partner who you can have a nice conversation with, or a peaceful setting in nature that is just beautiful. And focus on that enjoyable aspect. Hate doing your paperwork? Find a peaceful sanctuary where you can do the paperwork and enjoy yourself. Maybe have a nice cup of tea or coffee, play some nice music. And focus on the enjoyment.
6. Repeat. You’ll almost inevitably slip up sometime, no matter how good you are. Unfortunately, people often take this to mean they don’t have discipline, and they just beat themselves up and give up. Well, it’s just a bump in the road. Get up, dust yourself off, and get going again. Start from Step 1 and start all over.
I hope you have a lovely, productive day! :)
Found this today while reading through some of my favorite blogs.
I don't know if it's because I love The Sound of Music so much or if it's because this is just so incredibly awesome. But I was so happy I was in tears.
It could also be because I am the biggest softie alive and will cry at anything.
I hope you have a lovely Monday!
ETA: If the link doesn't work for you, search for "sound of music train station" on youtube.com :)
I am so thrilled to announce that we (Songbird Avenue) raised and donated a total of $6816.00 to Autism Speaks! Because of Ali's and Jessica's pledges, we were able to donate so much! These two are absolute gems and we're so happy we got to do this with them!
So, so happy with the number! I still can't believe that one of my jobs is to do this. I am so thankful that I get to work with such amazing designers and I am so grateful to and proud of our customers! :)
Thank you all, so much, for making this donation possible!
After Stonehenge, we drove to Bath. Colin found out that the Jane Austen Centre is there and it is supposed to be a beautiful and uniquely appointed city, so we decided to take a peek.
***Please don't' read the next 7 sentences if you have a weak stomach.***
It wouldn't be a road trip, though, without one of the kids hurling all over the car. We'd had ice cream at Stonehenge and just as we were pulling into the parking lot in Bath, Norah let loose a mint chocolate chip smelling bought of nastiness. Thank goodness for the case of bottled water in the trunk. We got her somewhat cleaned, but I had only brought spare clothes for the bottom half of her. We had to put her in her jacket and find a kids Gap to get a new top for her. Then and only then could we get on with our trip. It was a good hour detour. Typical. :)
Ok, on to the center!
(photo courtesy of bath360.co.uk)
The center is based mostly on Jane's life during her stay in Bath (where her father died) but it also timelines her writing and eventually the publishing of her novels. I didn't even realize this, but Northhanger Abbey and Pride & Prejudice were published posthumously. They were also the first novels to actually have her name on them. The first ones were simply authored by "A Lady". Crazy Georgians.
There were lots of costumes and many of Jane's letters on display. There was an intimate and private feel to the whole museum that I really liked.
We then headed out to see the Circus at the top of the road but not before we left the center with a bit of gossip.
Supposedly Nicolas Cage owns a home in the Circus.
Number 7, to be precise.
Not much to look at from the outside, but I bet it's spectacular inside. I'd love to take a peek in there!
Then we continued on our walk around Bath.
Bath. Where the poodles are posher than you.
We then headed to the Royal Crescent, made famous by so many English dramas.
While Colin and I soaked up the sunshine, the kids took the opportunity to roll down the hill for half and hour.
They'd worked up quite an appetite so we headed back into town for an early dinner. Italian, to be exact. Yummy, mozzarella covered Italian goodness.
Then on to Queen's Square.
We then made our way to the parking lot. We were exhausted and facing a 3.5 hour trip home. Norah passed out almost immediately in the car.
Poor little thing was totally wiped out. We made it home around 9:30 pm and as soon as we got everyone cleaned up and ready for bed, we crashed.
Road trips can be hell sometimes. :)
Yesterday we headed out the door very early for the 2.5 hour drive to Stonehenge. Everyone we know who has already been says that it is really awesome for about 3 minutes and then you get tired of looking at the rocks and then you just wanna go home. :)
They were pretty much right.
It was awesome.
It was soooo cool.
But in the end, it's just rocks and there's not much to do. I just wanted to sit down and read the guide book we bought, but it just wasn't going to happen. You'll see. :)
When we first arrived we were starving so we bought our tickets and then went to the little sandwich hut to grab a snack before we looked around. I grabbed a slice of pizza and everyone else got a sandwich. Colin had to share his, though.
With this guy:
If you are ever at Stonehenge and you see this bird, cover your sandwich and walk away. This sucker will LITERALLY swoop down and pluck the tomatoes right out of your sandwich. And then he'll drop the first one and come back at you 3 more times to try and grab another one. He is evil.
So, having learned our lesson, we left the kiosk and headed towards the ruins. :) Over 4,000 years old, Stonehenge is still a mystery. The place was cram packed full of tourists and we lost the kiddos in the crowd quite a few times. We had to chase Norah around for most of the hour we were there and it was a bit manic.
But totally worth it.
You can't actually walk up to the stones which is a bit disappointing, but since they fence it off at a decent distance, you can actually get some good photographs that are relatively tourist and stranger-free.
This pretty much sums up our trip. Norah was on the verge of breaking every rule on the premises every minute we were there.
This is about the time that we were done with it. Colin and I were tired of chasing the kids and the kids were less than impressed by our lack of knowledge on the place. Looks like we all need to sit down and read our guide books!
And I don't know if you can tell or not, but you can see in this photo that I permed my hair.
I got to the point a few weeks ago of hating my hair (you know...the dry, wispy, limp, sorta wavy thing that happens after you have 3 kids?) Yeah, so I got a perm. :)
And last but not least (no pun intended!): Norah's final tribute to Stonehenge.
Hope you enjoyed the photos! :)