Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas around our house.  I mentioned earlier that Ella helped KJ put up the tree this year.  She has done this for several years, but she was an especial help this year, fixing each branch before delivering it to KJ.
And James...well, James added a little bit of mayhem to the holiday preparations.  As usual.  

Last night after dinner I made some Christmas cookies, and Ella put lights on her own little tree.  I have been so thankful for my sweet family lately.  They grow more dear every day.  KJ and Ella came home from school yesterday with news about the part Ella was going to play in her school's Christmas program.  She wanted it to be a surprise for me, but I guessed; I couldn't help it.  Ella's class is making up the nativity scene, and Ella will be Mary.  As KJ said, "They cast the role perfectly."  She will make a very sweet Mary.



And just to share a little bit about what's going on in James' life, here are a list of new words I've been hearing a lot lately:

Candy
More Candy
I want candy.
Up high.
Candy.
Cup Mine

And here are the words I've been saying a lot lately.

No.
Stop.
Don't touch.
No more candy.

It's pretty chaotic around here trying to teach this boy some manners and self-control.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time-Savers

I've been meaning to do some product placement for a while because I discovered these products in the same week a few months ago.  They work great, and they are big time-savers, too. So hear you go.

The first is Suave Professionals new dry shampoo.

I first found heard about dry shampoo when James was a newborn, and I was dying to try some because we all know how often mothers of newborns get to take showers and wash their hair.  I thought this could be an amazing solution for those days when the shower just didn't happen.  

I ended up finding some at the salon at Wal-Mart that I paid $20 for (I was desperate for clean hair.), but I wasn't totally pleased with it.  It did add more volume, but it also added a lot of static electricity and left a grayish white residue where I sprayed it on my roots.  

But this product works so much better.  There is no residue and no static electricity.  It absorbs oil, smells great, and gives you some extra volume up top so you look like you have freshly washed and dried hair.  BAM.  Plus, you only pay about $3 for it at Target.  My Wal-Mart didn't carry it last time I checked.  It's not exactly the same as if you washed and dried your hair, but it will get you through that early-morning class when you sleep in or the early run to the grocery store or that day when your baby or young child doesn't give you time to hop in the shower.  

My next time saver is Tyson's Grilled and Ready Chicken Breasts.


I think I unintentionally bought these once, but they turned out to be great.  They are already cooked, and all you have to do is put them in a covered dish and pop them in the microwave for less than 10 minutes.  You don't have to worry about thawing them, and you don't have to wonder if they're cooked all the way through or not.  They're a little more expensive than regular raw frozen chicken breasts but not by much, and they're really nice to have on hand for a busy night.  If you're running late starting dinner, pop these in the microwave and some vegetables on the stove, and you have a healthy meal in 15 minutes.  You can't beat that.  Also, they really did have a great flavor, and they're only 110 calories, I think.  

I think these would be great for preparing a meal for one, too. They're individually packaged, so you just take out what you need.  And that is my product placement for the week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday's Memories: The River Thames

First of all, I just have to say that I love how much more distinguished it sounds to place River at the front instead of the end.  Or at least, it sounds more British, and British = more distinguished, right?  The River Tennessee.  See?  The River Chattahoochee...I don't know if you can make that sound distinguished.  As an aside, I never considered just how many of our names are Native American.  Brits got a big kick out of hearing we lived in such places as Tuscaloosa and Sylacauga.

We spent a lot of time on Westminster Bridge with me just trying to soak in that I was standing over the River Thames.  


I suppose this is properly called Westminster Palace, 
where the Parliament convenes.

A Normal Picture

An "I can't believe I'm in England!!!" Picture



We felt slightly giddy, despite the fact that KJ had been awake 26 hours straight by this point.
I can't believe I was really there.

P.S.  I saw a bride and groom having pictures made on the bridge there, the bride's
veil and dress blowing in the wind.
How great is that wedding album going to be.

A [Small] Taste of Our Thanksgiving

I don't have many pictures from our Thanksgiving celebration, partly because one brother of mine requested that I not take random pictures of everyone.  I think I will ask for posed pictures then at Christmas because I came away with no pictures of anyone in my family except for Ella and James.  

They are enjoying a Thanksgiving mid-morning repast of ham and barbecue chips.

My mom bought that sweet, vintage tray for Ella to eat on when she comes to visit.
It was adorable, and Ella loved it.

Ella posed for a picture with each of her princess dolls in turn.
Here she is featured with Ariel.

We enjoyed this Fried Confetti Corn that was absolutely delicious.

And that is about all I have to show from my camera card this Thanksgiving.  Despite the lack of pictures we had a really great trip home for the day.  It was good to be with my family, and the kids traveled so well this time.  James watched a DVD that had one episode each of about 6 Nick Jr. television shows.  It proved to be golden.  Absolutely no screaming.  We usually spend the last 30 minutes of the trip with a lot of loud fussing.  I was very thankful for the quiet trip.  

Ella went back to school this morning in good spirits, though last night she told me she didn't want to go to school because she wanted it to be "like the old days."  So I suppose life is sort of back to normal except not really, because now we have a Christmas tree and lots of Christmas parties added into our normal schedule.  I might need to hire a baby-sitter for the month of December.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

From the quiet of my morning

I'm waking up this morning to the lovely lights of my Christmas tree.  As is their tradition, Ella and KJ put up the tree last night, and maybe we'll be able to finish decorating it this morning.  I can't believe it's time for the Christmas season.  I'm going to need to immerse myself in Christmas music and movies to make my heart realize the end of another year has come.  

And it is the end of my 20s!  That is rather hard to believe and is a huge milestone.  One night last week I was getting ready for bed, and I looked in the mirror and realized I would be 30 in two months.  Thirty.  That's heavy.  I went back in the den and informed KJ he was about to have a 30-year-old wife.  He said, "I know.  I've thought about it and wondered if I should do something special."  To which I replied, "Yes.  Yes, you should.  I think 30 deserves a nice party.  This is momentous."  But I still have a month and a half left of my 20s.  The 29th has definitely been a good year.  It's been a good decade all around.  

I'll confess that the passage of time does make me feel a bit melancholy.  Maybe I'll end those thoughts for the moment.  The drizzly rain and darkness has kept my household asleep for longer than normal.  It's so peaceful and quiet.  I should probably go prepare my heart and mind for the rest of this Sunday morning.  May you have a blessed day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday and a Flashback

I was privileged to go on a 6 1/2 hour shopping trip with my sister-in-law, Olivia, today.  We bought this stuff:


And today's flashback features...Westminster Abbey.


We were greeted by this sign at the door:


Pickpockets were actually my biggest fear about being in London.  I read in a guidebook that you needed to be aware of them in the city, and it just made me nervous.  I was afraid we would appear to be a couple of easy-target tourists.  Thankfully, we had no trouble with pickpockets outside of Westminster Abbey or any other place.

There were some pretty strict rules about photography and filming inside the abbey, so I don't have much for you to see from the inside.  KJ did turn on the video camera nonchalantly at a couple of points.  He couldn't pass up Henry V's tomb.  We were able to take a few pictures once we'd passed through the gift shop.  I think my favorite part of Westminster Abbey was seeing William Wilberforce and William Pitt buried beside each other.  It seemed very sweet to me.  The inside was magnificent and awe-inspiring.  If only I had more pictures.

This is looking out across a courtyard near the exit.

It was quite a lovely courtyard.


I want to record for my own benefit the little things that happened at all the places we visited, but my words feel repetitive and not good enough.  It was...let's see...thought-provoking perhaps (?), to stand in a place so old where so many events, both good and bad, had taken place.  It is amazing to comprehend that you stand in the place where kings and queens have been crowned and laid in state after their death.  KJ and I have been reading A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens, and we just read this weekend that Oliver Cromwell, along with others, was actually taken from his grave in Westminster Abbey once Charles II came back into power.  There were some really horrible things done to it, and we have been grateful more than once to live in the place and time that we live.  

It has been very interesting to see how the events of the Protestant Reformation and the Bible being put in the hands and language of the people made a difference in the culture there, though.  Dickens didn't mention that specifically, but the early history of England is extremely violent with all kinds of savagery going on, and as I was reading Wednesday night it hit me that the people and the history seemed a lot more civilized all of a sudden.  And when we thought back we realized that the Reformation had taken place in the last 100 years, and the preaching of men like John Bunyan and John Owen filled pulpits.  The Word of God is a powerful thing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

He's at the top of my thankful list.


And I'm not talking about Ben, either.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving This-and-That

One Thanksgiving when I was in college my mom made this AMAZING pumpkin pie that I really loved.  I started making it anytime I went to a festive celebration in November or December, and at my sister-in-law's request, I'm going to share it today.  Here you are, Katie!  :)  

I really like it because it's a cold pie made with pudding and Cool Whip, and who doesn't love that?

Click HERE to download the recipe card.

I was thrilled when stores started carrying the extra large pie crust.  You really need it for this recipe because it makes a lot filling.  But whatever is left over you can just enjoy with a spoon.  You should make sure it turned out all right, after all.

On another Thanksgiving note, have you read this book?  I love it.  It really is an amazing story.  I bought it on Black Friday last year and read it to Ella the other night.  She came home with her first Indian headdress and book with pictures of pilgrims and Indians.  It was fun to share this story of God's providence with her.  

Every once in a great while,
the hand of God is easy to see,
and for a brief moment,
fairy tales and history are the 
same thing.  This story is about
one of those times.

-from Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas

And on one more Thanksgiving note, if your local Dairy Queen carries the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard, you should totally check that out. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday's Memories: A Few Famous Ships

KJ told me tonight that the world was waiting for the next installment of "Monday's Memories."  I kind of doubt that, but I told him I'd do it for him.  I started working on some pictures of Westminster Abbey, but after an all-day outing with both children I am too tired to write a post about them.  I will leave you instead with the scene of some significant ship departures.

Southampton

King Henry V led his troops across the Channel to France from this spot long, long ago; the Titanic began her ill-fated voyage from Southampton, but most importantly to us this week, our forefathers boarded a ship called the Mayflower in this port city.  This glorious sunset was actually viewed from Mayflower Park.  

KJ and I made a quick run into Southampton on the third day of our trip.  It was our Jane Austen day, and Miss Austen actually lived in this city a few years with her brother Francis and his wife, Mary.  We made it to the docks just in time for the sunset, and after another wild run across the inlet to peek at Netley Abbey we were on our way again.  So we didn't see a lot here, but I'm glad I got to look out at the water and imagine what it felt like for those people boarding the Mayflower, not knowing what was in store.  I think they were brave to board a ship and leave behind solid ground for so many weeks with no guarantee they would reach their destination.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

A Little Bit of our Weekend

Friday I began designing a Christmas card for our family, and I decided Saturday morning that I needed a family picture to work around. How hard could this be?  We'll just pack up the tripod, go outside somewhere and snap off a few pictures, and we'll be sure to get one cute one, right?  

It always takes longer to do things when children are involved, though, and this was no exception.  Everyone had to get dressed and find the perfect thing to wear.  Diapers, wipes, snacks, drinks, and camera equipment all had to be packed in the car.  We finally made it out the door and drove up the road to a state park.  We let the kids play a little while on the playground.  

James climbed up the extremely tall slide with no hesitation.


But would you expect anything less of him?

His bravery gave Ella increased confidence,
and she agreed to go down the slide with Daddy, too.


She's beautiful.


We took a few pictures beside the lake, and they were okay.  We all have extremely wind-blown hair.  James played contentedly in the dirt with a stick the entire time and never ventured a glance at the water once UNTIL (of course there is an "until.")... UNTIL we took our eyes off him for a moment so I could show KJ the pictures we had just snapped.  Plop.  

I looked over, "James is in the lake!"  Now, don't freak out, Mom.  It wasn't deep.  The water washed over the shore kind of like at the ocean.  He didn't technically fall in; it was more like he stepped in and tripped.  We reached him as he was standing up, looking slightly confused as to what he'd gotten himself into, but isn't that always the way with James?  He is full-speed ahead until he hits something, like yesterday at church, running happily through the gym with abandon until...smack.  Busted lip.  Am I going to survive this child?

KJ scooped him up out of the water and insisted I take his picture.  I didn't really want to because I felt like a horrible mother for taking my eyes off him, giving him the opportunity to fall in the lake.  But the story is going down as one of James' most famous exploits thus far


As it was so windy, we packed up and headed home.  KJ took James' wet clothes off and put him in his undershirt.  He's the most adorable little boy, though he does find trouble so easily.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday's Flashback- On the Streets of London


"Where are we?" said Ron's voice...

"Tottenham Court Road," panted Hermione.  "Walk, just walk, we need to find somewhere for you to change."...

"Just as a matter of interest, why Tottenham Court Road?" Ron asked...


Fall Break

Friday!!  I'm very excited.  We've been waiting for this day all week.  Ella is watching a movie at school today, and her Fall break is next week.  I can hardly wait for an entire week of freedom with her.  I am planning creative projects, baking, library outings, and of course Thanksgiving!  I haven't seen my married brothers and their wives since Labor Day, so I am excited about some family time.

I think James and I are going to take a trip to the store this morning, as we only have about five diapers left, and we are out of milk.  As of right now, though, he is happily ensconced in the baby swing watching Blues Clues, which has become his hands-down favorite show this week.  Ella had a DVD that had one episode of several shows from Nick Jr on it, and I put it in on Wednesday, thinking James might like to watch something new.  I'm not sure what happened when he watched Blues Clues, but he has requested, "Clues" every moment of every day since then.  He sings and does all the motions and is perfectly content watching that one episode over and over and over again.  Thankfully, Blues Clues isn't an annoying show to me, but that of course might change.  I'm also thankful that Hillary left herself logged in on her Netflix account on our computer. (Thanks, Aunt Vicki!)  It has kept me from having to watch the same episode over and over.  

The only bad thing about this is that when I was trying to work on the computer yesterday James kept requesting to watch Clues, and I was saying, "No," and he said, "Turrnn."  I'm glad he's beginning to understand the concept of taking turns, and he was definitely trying to work it to his advantage.  He also said, "Please!!"  I love my talking boy, but I still said, "No, no more Blues Clues right now."  

Another funny James moment happened when my friend brought baby Luke over yesterday morning.  James ran excitedly to the door when he heard the knock and smiled up at Luke's mama, but then he looked down and saw Luke in the baby carrier, and said, "Noooo."  It's obvious that he didn't like his mama giving attention to any other baby but himself.  

But though he might resent the baby interloper, he loves it when his sister comes home from school.  When KJ comes to the door in the afternoon, James says, "Erra?  Erra?"  On Wednesday he patted her tummy and gave her a hug as soon as she entered the house.  He misses her when she's away.  We will all be excited to have her home next week.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

My New Job

I just got permission to show off baby Luke on my blog.  I got to keep him for two mornings this week, and he has been sooo sweet.  He is such a good baby and just tooo precious.  (Why does gushing come so easily when you're talking about babies?)  Let's see...I'll start with a few from the hospital because I can't resist.

Look at the size of those hands!
He'll be a ball player for sure...at least, that's what everyone
said about the size of James' hands when he was born.

Sweet feet

And here's my favorite picture from this past Tuesday:

Isn't he a doll?

Today we had a little photo shoot in my studio...
a.k.a my closet.  

I have a really big window there that lets in a lot of light,
and Luke's mama needed some Christmas card pictures.



And then Luke said, "I'm done.  Please give me my bottle now."
And I did because I'm a good babysitter. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

James the Talker

James has been saying so many words since we returned from England.  He's even said a few sentences.  

"I'm okay."

"Is it hot?"

Last night he said the best sentence ever.  He couldn't find his own cup and started making his way to the side of the table where Ella's cup sat.  He said, "Ella's cup, Ella's cup..."  Then he reached up, grabbed the cup, and said triumphantly, "Ella's cup is mine!!!"  

He really did.  I promise.

Just a Little Update

Last night:


  • We had such a pleasant evening together.
  • Ella watched Tom and Jerry and ate popcorn with James.
  • Ella did her homework while I made dinner.  She was tracing cursive A's.
  • Ella practiced her reading while I cleaned up the mess James made in her room.
  • We all ate the same thing for dinner.  This is a miracle.  I felt like the perfect wife and mother for a few moments.
  • Ella and I made brownies and colored together.
  • We all ate said brownies together.
  • KJ and I talked.
  • The kids watched Tangled and drank chocolate milk before bed.
  • We got down the baby swing from the attic because...
This morning:

  • I'm baby-sitting a 7-week old baby for a few hours.
  • Ella and KJ left for school on time.
  • James is eating CHOCOLATE Lucky Charms for breakfast.  I feel okay about this because the box says it has "more whole grain than any other ingredient."  I'm sure they feel obligated to write that on their packaging, because Chocolate Lucky Charms is crazy...but they were BOGO at Publix this week, and I'm a fun mom, so I bought them.
  • I have one hour to clean up the house and prepare James and I for a baby-filled morning.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday's Memory


Big Ben is really beautiful in all its colorful splendor; the stone is a golden yellow. (Note:  I feel a sudden urge to write "colour" instead.)  But for all its beauty in real life, I find myself liking pictures of the city in black and white most of all.  


I think it's because in black and white it feels like the picture could have been taken a hundred years ago.  Everything in England (with the exception of this bench) was really old.




There was an in-flight movie on our way home that I can't remember the name of; I only watched a few minutes before taking a nap, but in the movie a man's fiance accuses him of this over-strong sense of nostalgia.  She says it is an unreasonable feeling of sentiment about the past simply because it is the past.  I couldn't help but agree with her a little bit, though I must confess I have it, too.  


Maybe it's not such a bad thing.  Maybe it has something to do with the way the past informs the future, and we can't get the past back.  It is gone forever, and that in itself makes it precious to us.  I didn't finish the movie, so I'm not sure how it was resolved.  Did they move to Paris after all?  I don't know.  But I do know I like pictures of London in black and white.


Friday and Saturday

Where did the weekend go?  I'm not sure.  It seems to have gone by quite quickly.  Hillary spent her break with us last week, and we enjoyed having Ella home from school on Friday.  Hillary "taught" her how to crochet, and she spent the day beside her friend on the couch working away.  I may have to buy her some supplies for Christmas.  We ended the day with another little Fall photo shoot.


We hung out around the house all day Saturday, but it still seemed like an eventful day.  It began with KJ cutting the grass with the kids' help, while I cleaned up various rooms.  KJ then began to change my oil.  He's done it a few times before to save a little money, but this time it wasn't worth the few dollars it saved.  While turning the wrench under the car, he lost hold of it, and it fell on his head.  Ella came running in the house and told me to come outside because Dad was bleeding, and it was an emergency.  I'm not sure what I expected, but it definitely wasn't the thick stream of blood coming from KJ's forehead.  

I ran for a paper towel, and we got him inside and lay him down on the floor.  I was looking for bandages and such when James decided it was the perfect time to demand a cup in a loud voice and try to pull me in the direction of the kitchen.  He also began to go through the contents of the first aid kit, and my stress levels rose.

Thankfully, KJ only has a cut on his forehead, a small ping in the corner of his glasses (kind of like what you'd see on your windshield), and a little bruise at the corner of his eye.  I don't think he's going to be changing our oil much anymore, though he did go out and finish the job after a brief rest.  

I spent some time scrapbooking with Ella in the afternoon and lamented the passing of years.  Where did this little girl go?  I love her curly hair.


My blogging was interrupted by a clean-up job (James dropped a can of carbonated water that spewed all over the floor.) and a coloring project with James.  Now I'm afraid I've lost my previous train of thought.

One thing is clear, though.  Life is not boring around here.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friday's Flashback

Guess what.  I totally wrote this post and only just realized that I made a reference to its being Friday again.  It was not on purpose.  But in keeping with my desire to make Thursday Friday, I thought I'd go ahead and post it anyway.  Apparently, I'm incapable of remembering what day it is today.


That is probably a corny name, but I thought I might use Fridays to keep sharing about our England trip.  I didn't want to bore you with stories from England every day of the week...unless you really want me to.


My husband
Making our way closer to that beautiful tower in the sky

Is it really a trip to London without getting your picture made here?
I don't think so.


Oh, London...

See the guy with the camera?
He was filming some skateboarder who nearly ran us over a couple of times.

Friday! Or not...

Before I started to type this post I started writing in my head, and it went something like this, "Friday!  I can't believe it's Friday already...", and then I realized it wasn't Friday.  This happened to me last week, too.  I called a friend and told her I hated to call her on a Friday night, but I figured it was okay since she has a one-month old and wasn't going anywhere anyway, to which she replied, "Well, it's Thursday, isn't it?"  Good grief.


I was confused last week because I went with Ella on her field trip Thursday, and she came home early, so it wasn't a normal day.  And she's out of school tomorrow for Veteran's Day, so my mind is already switching to weekend mode.  Long weekend mode!  Hooray!  Ella asked me last night if we could do something fun together, like color.  Yes, color!  But also take the girl out in the woods somewhere with lots of trees for pictures, although I'm not sure about poor James.  He has a nose pouring with snot again, and it's probably as a result of playing in the leaves on Monday.  But what can I do?  He loves to be outside.  He is drinking Allegra before bed each night.


I was so moved by reading Ann Voskamp's posts about her trip to Ecuador with Compassion International, especially yesterday's where she tells about how it was hard for her farmer husband to leave the sows he cares for behind, only to find himself being able to serve a single mother, raising pigs and growing potatoes to support her children at the first home they visit.  I wept when I read that post at the realness and nearness of God and how He knows us so intimately.


I'm glad for the children we've been able to sponsor through Compassion.  I never realized before how long some of them wait for help, and it really is so easy for us to help.  


It's taken me forever to write the above; I've had to get up every three minutes and wrestle James to the ground just to wipe all the snot off his face, so I suppose I'll close for now.  Please pray for these children.  The $38 a month you give makes all the difference to their lives.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Afternoon Movie

I just spent James' nap time watching this with a friend. If you've seen You've Got Mail you've seen one of the re-tellings of this play. This is a good movie; it has such great writing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Big Day

My plans for today were changed last night, and so I'm not sure what today holds after all.  I suppose it's kind of exciting in its own way.  So far I've scrubbed my dirty tub and laid prone on the floor fishing a golf ball out from under the dresser for James...on multiple occasions.  These are exciting times.  That's a little tongue and cheek but true all the same.  


"For who has despised the day of small things?"
Zechariah 4:10a

And truthfully, it is no small thing to keep up with my boy, keeping him alive and providing him with "Nak-Naks."  What is the appeal in fruit snacks?  I don't really care for fruit snacks.  I hope your day is a good one, whether it be filled with duties great or small.

Monday, November 7, 2011

James in the Fall

I had to go by the library this morning, and I've been longing to take some pictures with the lovely fall foliage in the background, so I dressed James in a plaid shirt, and off we went.

That is, we dropped our DVDs off at the library and drove up the road to take a walk.
I pushed him in his stroller for a while and then let him get out and run around.

At first, I thought I would have to be be content with pictures from the back.


Precious, to be sure, but I love his little face, his smile, his drool, his blue eyes that I never dreamed I'd see on any child of mine.

He ran around in the leaves, enjoying the crunching sound as he walked, played with sticks and patted passing dogs, and FINALLY I persuaded him to climb up on a bench and say, "CHEESE!"


Oh, my.  It was perfect.  He stayed put for...ohhh...2 minutes?
Then he climbed down, and I got one more.


And then he took off down the trail.
Fall picture success.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Calerne

The first Sunday we were in England, KJ and I were driving from the village of Lacock to Bath.  It was a beautiful day, and as we drove, we all of a sudden came upon this view.  We were blown away by the beauty of it and turned around to find a place to park.  We parked and ran excitedly down the hill to the stone wall alongside the road where a motorcyclist sat contentedly eating his sack lunch.  He told us the name of the village was Calerne and that he was going there, and then he told us about how he had taken his wife to the States on their honeymoon, to Arizona, I think.  I loved talking to local people and hearing about where they had been in the States and explaining what we were doing on our "holiday." 

We didn't visit Calerne, but we sure did enjoy our view of it.  It was a high point of our trip, stopping spontaneously to drink in its loveliness. 


Saturday, November 5, 2011

In the War Rooms

Let's travel back in time 3 1/2 weeks to our first museum stop in London...


I was really excited about visiting here.  I like reading and learning about this period in history.
Notice what is on top of the roof of this building.

The man himself

This building was chosen as a shelter for government officials
because of its proximity to Downing Street and Parliament.
It was just a few blocks away from each.

The War Room, in preparation for a briefing

Everything has been left in the War Rooms in almost the exact condition it was left when WWII ended.  I reminded myself constantly of the people who walked the dark, narrow halls and stood in the exact places I was standing.

I don't know if you're able to zoom in on what the sign says about the "Dock."  The floor where we were standing was already one level underground, and so this would have been even farther down where there were bedrooms for members of the cabinet, including secretaries and typists, to sleep at night when London was being bombed.  The place was dark and dank and had rats; the sign says most of the people took their chances and went home at night.  Would you have taken your chances with the bombs or with the rats?

This gave me butterflies in my stomach when I looked at it again.
It is hard to comprehend that I was so close to such a huge day in history.

The Prime Minister's Office

I mean, you have to love a good Churchill quote.

The posters and war memorabilia were some of my favorite things to see.

I found the German propaganda interesting, funny, and horrible all at the same time.

Churchill's watch and a few quotes
I thought it was interesting that Churchill was considered such an alarmist that no one listened to his warnings about Hitler.

Of course this was my favorite quote.

The door to 10 Downing Street when Churchill lived there

I was glad we got to see it here, because these days Downing Street is gated off; you can't just go take a picture of the door anymore.

I just liked this sign.  Nice title, eh?  But this was where they slept.
We were able to see several bedrooms, including one for Churchill's wife, 
though I don't think she stayed there often.

I'm not sure how maps in modern-day war rooms show the movements of troops, but I'm guessing they no longer use different shades of yarn.

The gift shop was full of these posters and books filled with instructions on how to make over your clothes and grow your own vegetables.  There was an especial push toward growing your own potatoes.  There were all kinds of posters about how good potatoes were for you.

The fact that the war affected the everyday lives of almost every citizen has always been interesting to me, compared to what my generation has experienced.  There seemed to be an attitude of, "We're all in this together."  Perhaps it is similar to what we felt after September 11; we just didn't have to do without things the way this generation did.

I really enjoyed the museum a lot, despite the fact that at times I felt like I was going to pass out from lack of sleep.  I only had a couple of hours sleep on the plane, and it was 7 a.m. Central time.  I finally had to tell KJ I needed to get out of the dungeon and into the fresh air and light of day.  I felt much better out of doors.