The low grumble of the mower hums from the backyard as Stefan attacks the overgrown lawn, Hans sits at the piano playing through his favorite pieces, stumbling a bit from weeks without practice, Erik and I were both up early to run and bike in our beloved Millcreek Canyon, while Mary dressed and kissed her baby dolls, loaded them into the stroller and ambled around the block. Our washer and dryer have been spinning since dawn and the pull up bar upstairs is begging for mercy and Stefan and Hans do set after set. For Gabe and Xander, two weeks away means reacquainting themselves with their friends and Legos and perhaps checking Netflix for new episodes of Phineas and Ferb.
For weeks all of Ben’s letters have ended with “you need to write more blog posts, mom. Just for me, please.” And although I’ve certainly been writing to him and sending assorted photos, I tend to ramble a bit. Entire weeks and events are covered in a phrase, while Ben craves complete sentences and multiple photos. So, I’ll beg the forgiveness of everyone who isn’t my child or sibling as I spend the next dozen posts catching up a bit.
Because, oh my, we’ve had the summer of a lifetime (perhaps I’ll edit that sentence out before forwarding to Ben? I feel guilty about all he’s missed.) I still haven’t posted photos of our trip to San Diego, the Parker Bradford Hike, Mile-High Raspberry Pie or our wild and crazy Swinter party, but goodness, we’ve just returned, at two this morning, and it really does need to be in all caps, from LONDON!
I feel the need to explain (and if you know me, you’ll understand this tendency). We’d planned on a family trip this August. Erik had masses of frequent flyer miles set aside and we offered the choice to Stefan of one last trip before he leaves for college and a mission. I turned down a half-dozen August brides and pestered Stefan over and over, “where do you want to go?” Great Britain was at the top of the list (especially for Gabe who sleeps under the Union Jack and is obsessed with all things GB). But after realizing the Olympics would be in London this summer abandoned the thought quickly. Everywhere else in Europe boasted $1500 airfares and despite finding numerous frequent flyer flights to the Caribbean, Florida and Mexico, we could never settle on a spot, feel excitement about a destination. We’d semi-decided on a driving trip to Southern Utah (which would have been fun, and we were happy about it).
One evening in July, Erik was watching the Olympic trials with the boys and called out to me, “Hey, let’s see how expensive flights are to London for the Olympics– it’s got to be crazy!” Trust me, we had no intention of booking flights. It was simply one of those moments like, “Let’s see how much a Ferrari costs just so our jaw can drop.”
I pulled up Kayak, punched in flexible dates and then my jaw really did drop–“It’s $700 Erik. And you can pay with miles.” And so, in one of those lovely acts of sheer insanity, we booked the flights, giving ourselves the 24 hour cancellation window to see if we could really swing it. Everything came together beautifully– Erik’s work travel, my late August brides, a lovely apartment in London (with a flooded market, the owners fought over who could give the biggest discount). Elated, we announced the news to the kids and made a spontaneous list of all the British influences in our lives(ready, set, go– bet you can think of fifty in two minutes!).
I was hesitant to tell anyone, I didn’t want it widely known our house would be empty for two weeks. But more than that, well, people generally aren’t nice when you tell them about something incredibly lucky and wonderful in your life. But here’s the truth– the world is full of happiness and little miracles and fantastic opportunities. Oh, I know some people believe in the scarcity mentality– good news is a slice of pie and there’s only so much to go around. But I believe in abundance; every time I hear happy news I believe it foretells happiness for you and you and you and me too. Something good is coming your way.
To answer the most common questions– no, we didn’t go to any ticketed events, but there were enough free ones (road racing, marathon, triathlon etc.) we felt like part of the experience. And no, we didn’t see any shows (not sure why everyone asks this? I’ll see Wicked when the demand goes way way down). And London wasn’t crowded or disorganized– the subways ran smoothly, people were friendly and polite, no one tried to steal our money or children. As you can imagine I have about a thousand photos and masses of video to share (though, sniff, I lost four days of video). But first, back to those San Diego photos…