Bowtie Chicken Pasta with a Submarine Ball thrown in

1 Comment

IMG_5218I should be in bed – just finished feeding Daniel for the last time and have a few minutes before I’m sleepy enough to nod off.  We went to the Submarine Birthday Ball tonight (in case you were wondering – no it’s not a sphere painted like a submersible, it’s 113th Annual dinner/dance in celebration and remembrance of the submarine force.)  We try to go to this event every spring, and each year I am touched by the presence of submarine veterans and the tolling of the bell for submarines that have been lost at sea.  Did you know that during WWII alone, 50 United States submarines were lost??  I know that’s a drop in the bucket of human losses during WWII, and even just when compared to the fact that probably the losses of all other shipping were pretty great, but in terms of percentage lost, I’m pretty sure being a submariner was one of the most dangerous jobs out there.  Two men helped cut the birthday cake tonight who had qualified on their subs (receiving their “dolphins”) in 1943.  Such brave men.

Trying to show you the back of the hairdo using mirrors - she did victory rolls!

Trying to show you the back of the hairdo using mirrors – she did victory rolls!

We had planned a family photo shoot prior to our departure for the Ball, but, alas, the rain had other plans.  When I returned from the mall where an awesome girl named Mac did my hair, the torrential rain had me worried I might not make it even in under an hour to the house (it’s a 20 minute drive normally.)  Thankfully, the puddles weren’t in my lanes, and the roads were accident-free, speeding my meet-up at the gate with the photographer, Sarah Stewart, who we just met recently through church.  We will certainly be rescheduling, since I’m hoping to populate the top of this blog with her photos of us sometime soon….Even though she came back to the house with us, it was still coming down by our drop-dead-must-leave-for-the-ball (or John would have turned into a pumpkin) time, so she took a few shots of the group on the front porch, and we were off to the races.  What follows are a few pictures from the evening, and then a scrumptuous recipe – inspired by the Macaroni Grill’s bowtie pasta in a creamy white wine sauce with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and chicken.


making fun of the professional pictures they offer - this is the pose -- turned out much better than any they do at these events :)

making fun of the professional pictures they offer – this is the pose — turned out much better than any they do at these events 🙂

Friend Katie Guffy from church - we had a bit of trouble posing for a decent shot, so this one was my favorite :)

Friend Katie Guffey from church – we had a bit of trouble posing for a decent shot, so this one was my favorite 🙂

*Pictures from the iphone – a bit dark  🙂

*Standing in front of a bell (formerly a ship’s bell maybe?) and near the cake – we didn’t have any of it,  because they served delicious cheesecake as well.


4 Chicken Breasts – cut into strips to marinate better

1 pound bowtie pasta

2 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp flour

1/2 cup white wine

3 cups half-and-half

1 cup mozzerella cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2-1 cups sliced sundried tomatoes

4 Tbsp butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

white pepper and salt to taste

A few hours before dinner, marinate the chicken in something.  You could pour some Italian dressing into a ziploc or just throw together oil, wine, lemon juice, and a few seasonings.  Just a bit of flavor for the chicken ; it’s going to end up in the sauce so this is not the most important step.

Boil the pasta.  For me, the huge pot of water takes forever to boil, and the pasta cooks 14 minutes.  So, in the 30 minutes the rest of the meal takes to prepare, you can have the pasta cooking.

Marinating the chicken

Marinating the chicken

 In a large skillet, melt the butter (2 Tbsp), stir in the flour til smooth, and then whisk in the white wine.  I forgot to stir mine for a while, which is why it’s lumpy in the picture and took a lot of work to smooth out.  Add the cream and stir constantly over medium-low heat.

In a separate pan, saute the mushrooms with the butter (the other 4 Tbsp) and garlic.  DO NOT SALT the mushrooms, as I heard on a cooking show that this causes them to “sweat” leading to steaming/boiling the mushrooms rather than a real sauteing of the mushrooms.  Meanwhile, grill the chicken.  Once it’s grilled, cut it into large-bite-sized chunks.  (When I didn’t have my nifty “griddler” I just baked it in the oven for 20-30 minutes.)

Melting the butter to cook with the garlic and mushrooms

Melting the butter to cook with the garlic and mushrooms

awesome garlicky, buttery mushrooms

awesome garlicky, buttery mushrooms

trying to stir the flour into the sauce

trying to stir the flour into the sauce


Saute the sun-dried tomatoes with a little olive oil in your mushroom pan (Take the mushrooms out first, and set them aside.)

IMG_5130 IMG_5131

Finally, add the cheeses to the cream sauce, stir until melted, season with salt and white pepper; then, transfer the mushrooms, sliced chicken (already grilled) and tomatoes to the sauce.  Drain the pasta and return it to the huge pot (or a lovely serving bowl big enough for stirring), pouring the sauce into it and mixing well.  Be sure not to overcook your pasta in order to prevent it from breaking apart at this point.  I have had one friend prepare the whole meal, transfer it to a baking dish, refrigerate it overnight, and then warm it in the oven covered in foil – instant awesomeness.


The sauce - voila!

The sauce – voila!

my little helper :)

my little helper 🙂


PS – DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY!! THIS IS MY 206TH POST SO WE ONLY HAVE UNTIL 210 POSTS TO REACH OUR GOAL!  If you’re sharing recipes from the blog, I have rearranged the “recipe” tab at the top now (“in the kitchen”) to better organize the recipes.  You can read about the GIVEAWAY here.

Christmas Light Show (better late than never)

Leave a comment

I found these pictures on my husband’s phone the other day and realized I had forgotten to include them in my Twelve Days of Christmas rundown of the visit from my parents.  There are enough of them, though, that they deserve their own honorable mention post.  Every year these are displayed from Thanksgiving through New Years’ Eve at James Island County Park out on James Island, so we figured with my parents here it would be a good chance to take all the kids out to see them.  I didn’t expect them to be as amazing as they were.  We were all very pleasantly surprised, and the fee was pretty tiny. 🙂  I am just going to feature the lights here and won’t say much, with the possible exception of explaining a few of the pictures as well as talking about a few that were awesome which I couldn’t capture quickly enough.

The new bridge across the Cooper River.  To the right you can barely see a display from Boeing - an aircraft carrier with a jet taking off (the lights moved to show it taking off and flying away.)

The new bridge across the Cooper River. To the right you can barely see a display from Boeing – an aircraft carrier with a jet taking off (the lights moved to show it taking off and flying away.)

The old bridge - it was here in 2001 when we lived here before, going between Mt. Pleasant and downtown Charleston.  They tore it down once they had built the new bridge.

The old bridge – it was here in 2001 when we lived here before, going between Mt. Pleasant and downtown Charleston. They tore it down once they had built the new bridge.

Also seen on the lake was a dolphin jumping in and out of the water and a Santa golfing which had the ball flying far away over a field.

photo-429 photo-430

photo-431 photo-432

photo-434 photo-435 photo-433

I hope I did it justice and that you came away thinking the lights were pretty amazing 🙂  These were just taken with John’s iphone.  So many of the displays had “moving” lights where the lights went on and off to give the illusion of movement, but it was impossible to really catch on a camera.  The BEST ONE I thought, was of “Old Man Winter.”  As we drove around a bend, we came upon him blowing out a chill wind (they lit up over time to look as if he was blowing) which then covered four trees with ice in succession.  By driving slowly enough we were able to see the whole scene about 4 times before we passed it.  The four trees which lit up one at a time were real trees covered in white and blue lights, which made the effect even cooler . 🙂  All for now – bedtime over here!

Using a headlamp to cook potatoes and sausage must mean….

Leave a comment

No, we’re not camping. And the power hasn’t gone out, either.  Rather, my children were running around spying on me and John and trying to sneak up on us, wearing dark cloaks and little blue and red LED lights on their fingers as I was making the quiches for Sunday (and the freezer.) So much was accomplished here today (Saturday – 6 minutes until Sunday right now actually) and yesterday that I can hardly remember everything we did.  We were all pretty happy to finish up the toy room:

photo-309 photo-308 photo-307

Toy room...ahhhhh

Toy room…ahhhhh

I do recall that I didn’t get up until 10am (score!) and then had morning devotions with the children over my daily breakfast protein shake, nursed Daniel again and put him back down for a nap.  I know I sorted and started the laundry some time in there; I then got things ready for making fried eggs and English muffins (John cut up the turkey kielbasa and got it frying on the stove, I buttered the muffins to broil them in the toaster oven,  I washed the cast iron pan that we always used for eggs, along with the new heart-shaped egg cooking devices, I started cooking the eggs, and then John took it all over.)  Breakfast was just hitting the table as I stepped out the door for an experimental run.  3.6 miles later I felt well enough, but as the day has worn on my foot has told me otherwise.  Guess it’s still a little too early for running.  Back to the bike!  It doesn’t feel much worse than it did earlier in the month, but it is definitely more painful than it has been over this last week.  I just started stretching my foot in the way prescribed in a book I ordered online.  I will report back about its efficacy. 🙂

how the living room is looking - not finished, but getting there.

how the living room is looking – not finished, but getting there.

Sunday afternoon now, and I am relaxing after lunch before evening church.  I feel so behind on blogging because I still haven’t posted pictures of the homeschooling trip to Patriot’s Point on Friday and several other things, but I have an excuse – I’m working on a few photo projects that have a deadline of December 10, and then there is everything getting done in the house.  So, just a quick rundown of what has been going on here before I get back to continuing the goings on. 🙂  Yesterday after the run I showered and fed Daniel (showering is something I consider “work” when I wash my hair – which only happens once a week – because then I have to blow it dry for it to be manageable all week, so this probably took an hour all told), then I made myself some of those yummy eggs and English muffins, and more laundry loads were switched and Christmas boxes were brought in by John.  He also put up a curtain rod in our living room and brought in the tree (a fake one from years back) from the garage.  Next was practicing the bagpipes for a little while and preparing dinner (some delicious black bean soup I made in November and then froze which I had thawed out as well as a salad; recipe nonexistent because I forgot to write down the amounts.  I guess you’ll have to wait!) before we all sat down for devotions and a short Christmas movie – Ice Age Mammoth Christmas.  Somewhere in the day I organized another two bookshelves and all the colored pencils, crayons, markers, and other writing implements and also cleared off 3-4 flat surfaces in preparation for covering them in Christmas decor (This time tomorrow the house won’t know what hit it.)  After the little ones were in bed, Patience, Gabriel, and I went out front to do a bit of work.  They took turns riding Gabriel’s bike down to the middle of our cul-de-sac which is full of stones to gather a bag of rocks to use as weights.  The Poinsettias and two fake Christmas trees out front had been tipping over in the wind occasionally, so we weighted down the bases of them all.  I also spent a good hour spreading the branches on the trees since we bought them last week so they had that nice shiny, new box-shaped look.  Not a desirable appearance for a Christmas tree.

After church today a couple we just met came over for lunch.  I had made three meat and potato quiches last night so there was plenty of food for spur-of-the-moment guests, and these had the added convenience of being ideally located.  They live just a few streets over, on the base!  He is a student at the Naval Nuclear Power School where John works; they’ve been here a year and have about another 6 months.  We hadn’t met them before because I believe they were out of town the other weeks we had been to church, so it was really nice to get to know people who live so close to us.  Back to resting up and a few computer things while I have my feet up for another half hour.  I hope your weekend has been restful!

So – about the black bean soup recipe.  Can I just tell you that every kid LOVED IT, and Gabriel even went on this long diatribe about how our children’s children all have to be told to eat this soup in the future.  We sprinkled grated cheddar cheese on it and crunched up tortillas chips, along with a bit of fresh cilantro.  Yum!!!!  Unfortunately I really can’t tell you the amounts of seasonings I put in (I can tell you what, just not how much.)  If you want to know the general recipe because you have a hankering for amazing black bean soup, make a comment, and I’ll do my best to reconstruct it.  Otherwise you’ll have to wait until the next time I make it. 🙂


Sunday NIGHT now – am I ever going to publish this?  Here’s what we’re up to:

17997_10151548043078626_611958602_n 67692_10151548048503626_3167731_n 382041_10151548043868626_72108429_nWatching “Home Alone” for the first time — lots of laughing; they are mesmerized!!! Kevin from the movie reminds me a lot of Gabriel with his silliness. 🙂  All the kids think the gags are hilarious!!



Trunki time at the mall

1 Comment

What is a trunki, you may ask?  Here’s a picture for you of my kids in the airport on our way from Hawaii to the UK, riding their trunkis:

They’re suitcase with leashes so they can pull them along, or you can pull them!  They are also low enough to the low to the ground that they can just sit on them and push with their feet.  Anyway, there are two new ones out for the London Olympics, and since we are soon to be a family with 6 kids we figured we’d pick up one for Greer and new baby.  They are made by Melissa and Doug, but the British ones (There’s also a Gruffalo one, based on a children’s book that’s really popular here.) are sold exclusively at John Lewis, a high-end department store here.  Check them out!

The other one is for the Paralympics.  Anyway, we went as a way to spend the day out as a family rather than sitting around staring at each other waiting for me to have a baby 🙂  Outdoor walking isn’t really an option since it rained all day.  It was another mall we hadn’t been to before – about 40 minutes west of us in Bristol.  It has an Apple store as well, and, the best part was that there was a TGI Fridays next door!!! Seriously, never been a big fan of the place but here in England it’s like a beacon of hope!  Yummy food I don’t have to make myself 🙂

We also shopped around a bit – grabbing up a few other Olympic insignia items as  the second book in the Call the Midwife series by Jennifer Worth that I recommended a few posts ago.  Overall it was a very pleasant day and delicious meal, and now we’re just sitting around…waiting for me to have a baby 🙂  I think perhaps it might be tomorrow some time, since I am having contractions – albeit really far apart still.  I’m hopeful!

Another book I’m reading right now is called The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn’t Stop.  It’s about a famous runner from England who had been in amateur boxing for a very short time, having received 17 pounds reimbursement for expenses and never any winnings or pay, which therefore qualified him as a “professional.”  So when he tried to start running races and revealed this small compensation, he was banned for life from amateur racing in England.  His name was John Tarrant, and he started just jumping in to races without a number on, often winning them and setting world records along the way.  He was one of the greatest long distance runners the world has ever seen.  Anyway, I’m really enjoying the book and highly recommend it to any of you runners reading this blog 🙂  All for now.  Gotta get back to sitting around 🙂

Monday’s Musical Musings and a missed run :(


Going to run tomorrow, regardless of the weather – I promise! But today, after just about 4 hours of sleep, the cold house and freezing cold, rainy, gray weather outside (on July 2, mind you, in the southern part of England) was enough to convince me to lie on the couch as much as possible 🙂  [Note: Not complaining about the weather – considering the Colorado wildfires and the huge East Coast storms and all sorts of other terrible weather things going on – just chronicling it!)  Stephanie, our once-a-week mother’s helper, was scheduled for today, so I knew I only had to make it til 10am when she got here, and then I could relax (Greer got me up at 6:52am this morning, after I had awoken at 5:30am and probably didn’t fall asleep til around 2:30am — the joys of pregnancy!).  So that’s what I’m doing – relaxing 🙂 John left for Normandy this morning, so Stephanie is also coming 8-11am Tuesday and Wednesday morning before her other nanny job just to help me out to keep me from going into labor before he gets back!  So I will run tomorrow morning we she is here.  She just went to the store for me (and took the baby with her) to get a replacement electric kettle because I just broke ours last night, and it is the source of all my yummy iced tea that I drink all day, every day.  She also picked up a few groceries and a decaf frappucino to get me through to naptime today when I will be sleeping for sure!!

So my musical account today is about the Purple Ball which I mentioned we went to over the weekend.

What struck me the most about the evening was the super-cheesy music that was played most of the night. And it was FUN music.  It was so completely British in a way that I will try to describe.  I mean, there was a crowd sing-along at the end of the Royal Ascot races, and seeing Mamma Mia! in London means spending the last 20 minutes standing and swaying with the singing crowds of Abba lovers.  I know people tend to think of Americans as being more open and outgoing than the British – but when it comes to singing, out loud, and around other people – the British have us beat, hands down.  I went on that pipe band trip to Nice a while back, and we spent about 3 hours (they stayed down there for a few more but I went up to bed) singing, in the common room of the hostel, bothering all the young folks who were trying to get their drink on in the adjoining bar or were trying to quietly converse in the tv room.  One song after another – old Irish and Scottish tunes, patriotic songs, bawdy songs (ummm they also have bad hand motions to “Swing low, Sweet Chariot” that I could have lived my whole life without seeing performed by my fellow band members).  They even coerced me and the Scot who had lived in the US for a while into singing the American National Anthem.  At our band Christmas party two brothers who are drummers and probably in their 40s or 50s got up and did a silly singing skit, complete with props and the words they passed out so the rest of us could participate in the singing and sound effects when required.  It’s just a lost art in America, I observe, the art of making a fool of yourself in public without the necessity of alcohol, through song and dance.  My extended family always breaks out into show tunes when assembled, but I find this to be rare.  Think: Benny Hill – you know, British humor is just a bit different!  Here at Christmastime they have “pantomimes” – shows which have traditional characteristics: the baddie, the person dressed up as an animal, the goodie, people cross dressing, signs for audience participation (or they coach you ahead of time) when you’re supposed to boo the baddie or cheer the goodie, etc.  Lots of singing and dancing, and produced for children and adults.  The children’s cartoons are even strange to me, full of adults being foolish for an audience of children (I know there are a few of those shows in America, but there are many more here.)

Here’s the crowd enjoying a band:

So anyway, at the Purple Ball, they had two huge buffet lines, several bars going all night, wandering appetizers – and no formal sit-down meal, even though tickets were 75 pounds apiece.  And let me tell you, this worked well because people could start having fun – ie dancing, and singing their little hearts out to the tunes familiar to us in the US about….10-60 years ago!  You know – “I get knocked down, but I get up again…” right after “Come on baby, do the twist”, all sung by the same band.  They had 3 or 4 bands on throughout the night to mix it up, and the dance floor was almost never empty.  At all of our formal military events in the states there is a “program” starting with cocktails, then the sitdown meal, a speaker or two, formal and informal toasts given, and then dessert and dancing.  Usually we leave around when the dancing starts because a lot of the people are drunk by then and it’s usually around 11pm and we need to take off to get back to the babysitter.  This event, though, was just fun all evening – and was called “Purple” because that is the British military term for “joint” (ie: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, all together at a function) and the theme was the “QEII” – the cruise ship “Queen Elizabeth II”, in honor of her diamond jubilee.

The central ballroom was made to look like the place on the ship where you board and have the nice sweeping grand staircase up to the rest of the party.

This then led to some creative entertainment throughout the night – it started with a four piece jazz/ragtime band playing while we were coming across the gangplank, putting you in mind of the Titanic.

Then we transitioned into modern cruiseliner – Vegas showgirl type dancers.  Some of their costumes were a bit….showy.  We were pretty sure you’d never see anything like this at an official American military function without reading about it in all the newspapers the next day (yes, they were wearing thongs. covered in some scanty fringe.)

As part of the cruise theme, they had a “spa” which opened at 10pm where I got a foot massage 🙂

There was also a casino with play money, and, get this, a shisha tent.  Yes, people sitting around smoking some kind of weird tobacco out of what we would consider drug paraphernalia in the states, having their hot coals replenished while they comfortably reclined and relaxed.  I mean, wow. Just wow.  Any of you military spouses/active duty reading this — can you imagine this taking place at your next Navy Ball???

They also had an “Irish Bar” set up serving Guinness on tap, some performers from the official Military Wives choir that is so famous over here, and bumper cars in a pavilion outside. For real.

There were other outdoor games – giant Jenga, giant chess, etc – but it was drizzling all night, so we didn’t really venture outside.  The program for the evening ended at….4am with breakfast being served!!  There was a Hog Roast and a Lamb Roast – and they started at 11pm.  We left shortly before midnight, and I can’t imagine having stayed there all night long!! I guess it would have been superfun with friends and not 38 weeks pregnant (a lot of people invited friends and family instead of just attending themselves.)  We had a great time, though, even though we left early 🙂 Now I think I’ll go take my nap 🙂

Sunday Serenity

Leave a comment

I looked up serenity to make sure that it would properly fit the bill for my aim of posting on Sundays.  “calmness, tranquility, peace.”  That sounds about right.  For us, Sunday is The Lord’s Day, a Sabbath for rest and worship.  We spend our days normally going to church, having fellowship with others, and resting, usually closing the day back at church.  So on The Lord’s Day, if I post at all, it will be as an aside to what I’m doing that day – something gleaned from the sermon, or from our fellowship, or from my rest time in the Lord at home.

Today is a bit unusual since my husband and I will be driving back from Huddersfield all day – so I will just reflect in the car on the way and tonight will post my deep thoughts from a full day on the highway….a day spent thinking and talking with my husband in a car by ourselves for 3-4 hours is always a nice gift, and it usually produces copious amounts of food for thought 🙂

Well, we have arrived in London safely with all the children and our friend Meriwether.  Not too much to report on the journey from the Huddersfield hotel to our home, but we had a bit of excitement getting to the London flat.  We had a one hour turnaround time at home while I finished packing and baby finished napping.  Then we drove a little more than an hour to a tube station outside of London so we could take the London Underground in to the flat that we are borrowing from our friend.  When we arrived at the train, we went the wrong direction on it first and then had to get off at the next stop and cross over the tracks going up stairs and then back down to get on the correct train – which pulled in to the station just after we disembarked our first train. We raced up and over, my husband carrying the stroller with the baby in it (and random things hanging off it, and his backpack on), Meriwether dragging her small wheeled bag and Claire along, and me running ahead of the other 3 with two bags to make sure they didn’t get to the train first.  I made it just as the doors were closing and was able to hold the doors for everyone else, and we were on our way.

We rode the train a ways and then got off at Baker Street (home of Sherlock Holmes?) to switch to another line – and that train arrived just as we were walking up to it, so that was nice 🙂  Just a few stops on that, and then we had to navigate over to the flat a few blocks away, open the lock-box, and viola!  Perfect place with a kitchen, living room, and bedroom, and lots of random places to sleep 🙂  We rested up a bit and then walked down to a nearby Spanish restaurant where we had paella and sangria, my two favorite Spanish exports 🙂


Yes, we almost licked the paella pan clean 🙂  Tomorrow we are off to tour the city with the children, and then Meriwether and I will split off to go to a few famous stores and more.  Trip report to follow on Tuesday 🙂 And tomorrow night I’ll tell you about the concert we went to last night and the show Meriwether and I are going to tomorrow night!! Lots of musical memories being made about which to blog…

For now I will leave you with a few thoughts from Proverbs:

Proverbs 3:4,5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

It’s my birthday!

1 Comment

We just got back from a birthday dinner, just me and my husband, at a great little country pub, The Three Crowns, with astonishingly amazing food.  I had Chicken Supreme (chicken stuffed with cheese and ham, baked inside a puff pastry), and he had an awesome filet, and they brought out really well seasoned and cooked vegetables for us – red cabbage, yellow cabbage, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and cabbage.  Vegetables often seem overcooked and under-seasoned here in the UK, so it was a real pleasure having them taste amazing 🙂  He had a toffee-banana pie for dessert, and I had the Amaretto Cherry Mousse. Wow. We found this restaurant a month ago when I took my friend Leah there on her birthday when she was visiting from Hawaii, then went back for my husband’s birthday, and now mine.

Anyway, today started off with going to bed – at 4am – after finishing editing my husband’s paper.  It ended up at 14,900+ words, so we are pretty happy that’s over and done with.  Now we have 6 weeks left of his course, and 6 weeks til the baby is due, and no huge paper hanging over his head, which is wonderful 🙂

I was going to run today to my midwife appointment and then walk home up our big hill afterwards, but instead I made sleep a priority and slept in til 10am.  Everything was great at the appointment, and I remembered when I saw the date that it is my birthday today!  My husband and parents and kids had already reminded me a few times, but I kept forgetting (blame it on pregnancy!) After the appointment, we gathered up the children (my parents who are here til tomorrow from Texas, Meriwether, and myself) and headed over to Butterfly World and Craft Village about five miles from my house.  We had ice cream while the children played at the playplace (I had some, too, because, hey, it’s my birthday!)




I also added some cute British-themed plates and bowls to my kitchen collection (the kitchen is all decorated with the Union Jack – but that can be saved for it’s own post one day 🙂 ) because – you know, it’s my birthday!  There is so much Union Jack stuff on sale everywhere because of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this coming weekend and the Olympics, so it’s a good year to be using it to decorate!

Afterwards, the baby napped, and the kids watched a movie while Grandpa babysat, and Grandma, Meriwether, and I popped back out to check out things at the John Lewis Home Store (which has a new Mamas and Papas next door – baby and maternity stuff.)  I picked up a few more things for my kitchen, and they found nice souvenirs, and we made it back home around five, in time to relax for an hour before leaving for dinner.  So I essentially did nothing today but sleep, eat, and shop – not bad for a birthday!! 🙂  Not much else to say today – need to get up in the morning at 4:30 to take my parents to catch their bus to Heathrow, but, not to worry, I’ll be coming back home and slipping back into bed right afterwards. And then going for a nice run I hope 🙂