We took some pictures on our way home from dropping off the rental car, the day before we left. I so want to remember the everyday and help my kids to keep it in their memories too. Here the kids are at Woodford tube station. We started so many adventures from this place. Here’s Charlie putting on his ‘OH NO! We-are-going-on-the-tube-and-I’m-freaked-out’ face. Have I written about how terrified Charlie was on the Tube? All because I almost missed our stop once at the very beginning of our time there and we had to make a rushed exit. Poor boy, he was always so anxious and vigilant about making sure that we were on the right train, getting off at the right stop, getting on all together, getting ready about 3 stops before our stop etc. I think he might be scarred for life, he might always feel a pang of anxiety when he steps on a train. Poor little guy. Here is Woodford Green town center. The shops we passed by on our way too and from the train. And, most importantly, the bakery. This place is awesome. We’d stop and grab some sugar or jam doughnuts on our way into the city. The doughnut bribe kept our kids pretty happy on the 14 min walk to the train. I love all the little Harry Potter houses on our walk up Monkhams Lane towards our house. Hazel was always so great at helping Emmeline make the long walk on her little legs. Most of the time she got her running all the way there. This is our neighbors, the Saltzman's house. I’m so mad I don’t have a picture of them. They were terrific. Always showing up to bail us out of all of our disasters.Here are our darling little neighbors, Jamie and Sophia. Even though we didn’t get to see them too much Emmeline loved it that she had a friend right next door. They’d walk to each other’s houses, or meet up back in the cricket pitch to play before dinner. I wished we could have seen their family more. They were such cool people.And here’s our awesome babysitter, Cori. She lived down the road and was always willing to come and play “cushion house” with the kids at a moments notice so that Jeff and I could get out. I remember nearly crying with happiness once when I walked out of the door leaving my raggedy kids in her capable hands for a night in the city with Jeff. Homeschooling was amazing, but it made me really cherish my precious time on my own. I think she may be what I’ll miss most about England. She was wonderful.Ok, and this is a HORRIBLE picture, taken late at night right before we left, but I realized in that moment that I didn’t have one picture with Allison. Allison Fowles and her family of 4 girls lived in Woodford with us and attended our ward. They were such good friends to us, showing us the ropes, bailing us out of all kinds of crazy disasters day after day after day. I love them so much and will be forever in their dept. Our last day at church was also bitter sweet. We loved our ward there. We wish we could have more time to get to know more of the amazing saints there.Here are my kids with three of the four Fowles girls. Hazel and Christine were like two little peas in a pod. I was wishing we could take those girls home with us.
It was so good for Hazel to have a best friend while we were there. Charlie has always had such good close friends his age that he sees lots and lots and Hazel really hasn’t. I loved it when these two had play dates because usually they’d play that I was the queen of the house and they were the servants (that wasn’t even my suggestion!). They’d make me go and put my feet up while them cleaned and brought me tea and snacks. Oh I hope we can find a Christine replica at home, but I have a feeling there’s no one else like Christine.
It was nostalgic packing up our life there. You realize all the sweet things about your life as you close chapters. I couldn’t resist taking some quick pictures of some of the little things I found hidden in corners and under clutter. And snapping pictures of some of my favorite parts of our every day life there: the Woodford Green High Street (we got stuck in that little village bookshop on a rainy day once and the store keeper gave each of my children a book), Hazel sitting in her window, the view from my kitchen sink. We had such a beautiful life there. But through a lot of late nights, stress, ambivalent feelings and work we packed that life up and got on the plane and headed for Boston. The kids were pretty darn excited when they saw their beloved homeland outside the window. I think there was a part of all of us that was super sad to close our big London adventure, but also a part that was excited to be standing on the brink of a new adventure.
still so much more of our London adventure to document….stay tuned! I’m inching away at it.