Inspirational Words

just being is fun

Sometimes I get stressed about stupid things, when the reality is my life is relatively easy and pretty amazing. 

Sometimes I need a reminder like this so I can remember how lucky I really am.

School Differences: Elementary/Prep School

IMG_5514I realized that I haven’t fully talked about the kids’ school here in England.  I’ve certainly touched on the fact that it is very different than the school system we came from, but I want to explain how it’s different and what we love about it. 

All the kids go to the same school, but it encompasses three separate entities: Quinn is in what is called the “Lower Prep” school — ages 4-6.  Owen and Gabe are in the “Upper Prep” — ages 7-10.  Bridget is in the Senior school — age 11 through graduation.  

In England, full-day school begins at age four in Reception, which is the equivalent to American kindergarten (just a year earlier, obviously).  Because school starts a year earlier here, all my kids skipped a number grade: Gabe is in Year 4 (not third grade), Owen is in Year 3 (instead of second grade), and Quinn actually skipped the equivalent to kindergarten and went straight into Year 1.  Bridget, rather than being in the oldest grade in the school like she would have been in sixth grade in the States, went into the first year of high school and is instead in the youngest grade. 

There are so many things that set this school apart from what we’re used to, but today I just want to talk about the differences in the Upper Prep where Gabe and Owen are — I think the differences here are the most easily visible and easily described.

This post is a long one, but it’s really important to me — keep reading to find our how elementary school in the States is different from the Prep school the kids attend here in England.

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Cooked

cooked-doc-header

There is a new 4-part documentary called COOKED coming out next week on Netflix created by Michael Pollan, who is pretty much my hero.

Here’s the synopsis:

Explored through the lenses of the four natural elements – fire, water, air and earth – Cooked is an enlightening and compelling look at the evolution of what food means to us through the history of food preparation and its universal ability to connect us. Highlighting our primal human need to cook, the series urges a return to the kitchen to reclaim our lost traditions and to forge a deeper, more meaningful connection to the ingredients and cooking techniques that we use to nourish ourselves.

You guys, I cannot wait to watch this.

Food is so, so important, and the quality of food you put into your body is just as important, if not more important, than the quantity.  Good food nourishes, builds, strengthens.  Crappy food tears you apart from the inside out.  Every bite of food you take matters.

I try, very hard, to prepare most of what my family eats from scratch.  Although it’s not hard to do, It’s not always easy.  It is, however, always worth it. 

I’ve really, really fallen off the cooking wagon in the last few months.  Blame it on moving, busy schedules, my fear of grocery shopping when we first got to England, but whatever the reason, it happened.  I’ve been thinking lately of how much I need to get back into the routine of cooking, because when I’m doing it more often, it seems so much easier and more fun.  I know watching this documentary will be a great reminder of just why it’s so important.

I’m already looking up recipes and getting excited about getting back into the kitchen.

What is your favorite thing to cook?  Everyone has at least one!

 

How Many Kids?

My babies_May 2010

I always wanted a lot of kids.  Before I HAD children, four was, in fact, my minimum number.  I really wanted five or six.

When Quinn was born though, my fourth baby in five and half years, I had been pregnant or nursing for what felt like forever.  I had had children every other year from 2004 through 2010.  And I just felt like that was it — I didn’t want to be pregnant or nursing anymore.  I wanted my body back.  I was done.  Matt agreed; I think he was even more done than I was.  We took care of things so that we wouldn’t get pregnant anymore.

age 6

Then Quinn turned one and my baby fever kicked back in and I decided we had made a terrible, terrible mistake.  We should definitely have had ONE MORE child.  And I was sure that this time, it would definitely be another girl.  Just as sure as I had been with my previous three pregnancies, all of which resulted in boys.  Matt had anticipated this, apparently, knowing that when each of our kids had hit their first birthday, I decided it was time for another one.  He knew my change of heart was coming, and he helped me work through it.  It wasn’t a fast process, though.  To be honest, it took me about a year and half to finally accept it and no longer feel a deep sense of regret.  It was about the time that Quinn was potty-trained when I felt, at last, like I was okay with really being done.

IMG_0026

I think it was the realization that after eight years and three months of diapers, I was finished.  A weight was lifted and we moved into new parenting territory; we had no more “babies” then.  After that, I was good with no more children and I haven’t looked back. 

Nov 084

I love having four kids.  I love the noise and the chaos, the million pairs of shoes by the door, the endless laundry and the never-ending cooking, and the giant cars we have to buy so we can all fit in.  I really do, even if I complain about it.

G sledding

I always knew I wanted a big family, but once I started having kids, I changed my mind about exactly HOW big. 

How many kids do you have?  Are you happy with your family size?  Are you done having kids? Did it turn out the way you expected?  I’d love to hear.

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