Everyone in London keeps saying that summer is over and I'm starting to believe them. No more warm days, a lot more rain, fewer hours of daylight and very cold mornings. The kids have not wanted to get out of their warm covers to the mid-40's outside. Its starting to look like Fall outside too- the beautiful leaves are coming off of the trees and there is a definite chill to the air during the day. Annnd, the kids are fully involved in school and the subsequent activities that follow- soccer, piano, and lots of requests for after-school playdates. They've settled into their new life and routine quite nicely and have each made several really sweet friends. And, I just enjoy being able to wear sweaters, comfy pants and layers!!
I've started to ditch the stroller and Tessa now gets around the city behind the wheel of her scooter! It seriously makes me giddy to watch her navigate the busy sidewalks- she even scoots around the shops that we go in to. She's a total pro and I just love it- I also LOVE that I don't have to haul the stroller everywhere.
After our trip to Paris over the weekend, we made it back in time to meet some of Elle's family for dinner. Elle's aunt, Charity and her husband, Ian, just moved to London from the States. Ian's dad was our stake president for many years and his little sister was one of the cute girls who helped to run a singing/dancing group that Kate and Taylor were in. Between that and getting to know Elle's family, it sure does make this world seem so small! Charity and Ian along with Richard and Linda Eyre (Elle's amazing grandparents) met us for dinner in Covent Garden- one of our very most favorite London spots. Not only was the dinner delicious, but the company was even better! The Wrights and Eyres are the kind of people that make you want to be a better person- they really elevate a conversation and are so engaging and FULL of love for everyone. I could have talked to them forever because they were so kind and grateful for us taking Elle in for a month (which really was OUR gain!). Some of the nicest people ever!
The next day we squeezed in another palace...the big one. Buckingham. Its only open to the public for a couple of months every summer, so we had to get in when we could. It was packed to the brim with tourists, so it was a little crazy to navigate, but the rooms were gorgeous and so very ornate. We also saw the Royal Mews (stables and garage) where they keep the royal carriages as well as the Rolls Royce that the Queen is driven around in...so cool. One of the famous and very old carriages weighs 4 tons!! The horses were waiting for us at the exit and they were HUGE. Like the biggest horses I've ever laid eyes on. The kids loved it. We also loved the Queen's "backyard", where she holds her famous garden parties. It was a beautiful manicured lawn with a pond and natural-looking landscaping.
That night, Brian and I were able to attend a fireside at our chapel where Clay and Christine Christensen spoke about missionary work. They both gave amazing thoughts and insights and I kept wishing it wouldn't end. It was so inspiring. Some of my favorite parts were when they talked about asking questions. Clay said that religious people ask questions. We can go to church every week, but if we aren't asking questions, we aren't religious. He challenged us to ask people not of our faith to bring us any questions THEY have about God so we are answering their concerns, not telling them what we think they need to hear. I love this principle because it got me excited to find my own questions and research and ponder the answers so I can receive inspiration from Heavenly Father. I loved that Christine talked about when we bring others to Christ, we bring ourselves to Christ (and if we involve our kids, they come to Christ also). Just as much as what they said, the WAY they spoke was so powerful and it made me want to be a better person. I just love meeting people who are so thoughtful and generous and devoted to a cause and that genuinely want the very best for people. If you want to read some of his talks, click here