Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Here we go again! We are in the process of moving back to the States and when I say process I mean PROCESS. Military moves are long and drawn out due to the lack of speed with which our household goods will cross the Atlantic. We aren't leaving our house for another 3 weeks but our first "express" shipment went yesterday and Thursday and Friday our entire house, except for suitcase and clothes, will leave. We will get rental furniture in on Friday afternoon so we'll have beds, crib, table and chairs, crockery and a pot or two and a sofa. Back to the simple life! Our car also leaves Thursday so I'm trying to buy all the stuff I want to take back with us before tomorrow - yikes!
The kids are doing OK. I'm glad we had a little trial run with the movers yesterday. Emmy asked the same question all day long, "Where are the movers with our things?" There are only so many ways you can answer that question over and over and over again without going a little crazy. Blog posts will be few this week since all of my energy is going into getting ready but once we are down to suitcases the blog should be back up and running!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wicklesham Farm Lodge

On Friday, Aoife, Emmy and I went with some of my girlfriends and their daughters to the cutest little farm shop/cafe. It's called Wicklesham Lodge Farm and it's only open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10-2. They serve cakes, tea, and sandwiches but the menu changes daily based on what they feel like making. You can also buy fresh vegetables and eggs from their fields/hens. It was a gorgeous setting and so child friendly. There were 5 tables with chairs and a big blanket and basket of toys in the middle of it all. They've also converted a little old fashioned caravan - think gypsies and horses - into a sitting room and it has a doll house too! The food was great and the little girls had a great time too. Poor Aoife can't walk yet so she was stuck in the stroller the whole time. There were lots of pine needles and broken pine cones around - not so good for little hands and knees.
The Wicklesham Lodge Farm House
Emmy and her friend reading books before lunch
playing with a collapsing ball
Emmy in the caravan with Sophie
Poor Aoife - cooped up as usual

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Goodrich Castle

After we visited Raglan Castle, we went to Goodrich Castle which is just across the border into England. It was a different sort of castle - more for defense than gracious living. It felt small compared to Raglan although it was still incredible. The kids enjoyed running around with their swords and climbing the outcropping of bedrock that the castle is built on. There was a dungeon that made the boys were happy. We also climbed the most cramped tower I've ever been in - the steps were about 4 inches wide - not enough room for your foot!

Aidan in the dungeon
Emmy looking out a window
After the climb to the top of the tower
The view from the top of the tower
Aidan and Callum climbing rocks

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raglan Castle

On Sunday morning we went to Raglan Castle in Wales. It was by far the best castle ruin that we have been to this year - and that's saying a lot since we've been to Old Wardour Castle, Sudeley Castle and Berkley Castle. The kids had a great time climbing, running, jumping and exploring around the grounds of the castle. It was really big - there were several different parts and levels of the castle as well as a moat - with water in it! I'm so glad that we made it before we left because it would have been a big miss not to visit.
They've reconstructed this window's frame and it really gives a good impression as to what it would have looked like - it's hard to see it when the windows are just big holes in the wall!
Princess Emmy in the castle
Callum, Emmy and Aidan - under photo-taking duress
The view from the top of the tower
Emmy and Brendan at the top - Aidan has alreay run down the stairs. There was a pigeon nesting on one of the steps going up and it wouldn't move. Aidan even touched it - so strange that it thought THAT was a good place for a nest!
These beautiful plants were growing all over the castle
A view of the entrance from next to the moat

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tinturn Abbey

After Puzzlewood and then a brief stop at the Wye Valley Steam Train we visited Tinturn Abbey. I had taken the girls there when my mother-in-law was visiting but Brendan and Aidan hadn't seen it. It was fun to go again and everyone else had a great time too. The weather was gorgeous and the kids had a great time running around with their swords fighting bad guys and chasing the doves.
After we finished walking around, we went across the street and sat in the garden of a tea house. We had tea and cake overlooking the ruins and watched the kids play on a really fun jungle gym. One of my favorite things about England is that there is a cafe or tea room anywhere you go. It's so relaxing!!
The inside of Tinturn Abbey:
Emmy running after doves with her sword:
The kids are fascinated with doors - and if they're locked it's just that much more interesting:
Callum, Aidan and Emmy on the ruins outside the Abbey:
Emmy in the tea house garden with her new damsel hat:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Puzzlewood, The Forest of Dean

We visited Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean on Saturday morning. It was amazing and totally unexpected. It turned out to the the highlight of the trip for the kids and they now call it the magic forest. As you can see from the pictures, it deserves that name! There are a mile of paths that twist and turn through moss covered rock and tree formations. You feel like you could come around a corner and see a fairy sitting right in the path!
It is actually underground caves that, through erosion and tectonic movement, have come to the surface. Romans used the area as a mine for iron ore and a large cache of Roman coins were found behind a rock in the 1800's. Since then, nature has taken over and covered everything with moss. It is just gorgeous and we could have stayed all day. I wish we had discovered it earlier since it's only an hour from our house!!Callum, Emmy and Aidan having a snack.

Brendan with Jo, David and the kids.