vacation

Aaaand I’m back to having no time again…

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September has been (and will continue to be) really busy! Each weekend, there’s something happening, somewhere to go, and people to catch up with.

Brice’s mother, Karen, was in town over Labor Day weekend, and she and Brice spent a huge portion of their time figuring out where we’ll eat and sleep when we return to England and Ireland (and take a few days in Scotland, too!) this winter. The rest of the time, I was taking walks through our neighborhood with her, and then returning home to make my yummy guacamole and drink some good wine with great company.

Last weekend, Brice and I got up early to participate in the Fitness Festival that I’ve run in for the past couple of years. It’s a little 5K race through the Denver Tech Center, and the school district I work for is a huge participant — there are tons of teachers, administrators, support staff and students all running and walking through the streets. I’m not the best runner, so my goal is always to finish without doing any walking from start to finish. I met that goal last year, so this year, my goal was to finish in under 33 minutes (31:50, yay!). Check. Brice beat me by about a minute… I think I’ve got a new goal for next year. 😉

We did it! With some help (and stakes) from our neighbors… 🙂

After the Fitness Festival, it was off to the Horseshoe Campground in Pike National Forest (near Fairplay, Colorado) to pitch a tent and roast some marshmallows with our neighbors, Ben and Katie, and a few of their friends. Our trip out there was fine… up until the road ran out and we were bouncing along a rocky road up to the campsite. I’m pretty sure that I said “oh no” about 30 times on that 5-7 mile portion of the drive. Yikes. We had a fun night, filled with good food and awesome people. Once we left the heat of the fire and retreated to our tent, Brice and I nearly froze our rears off — thankfully, we had sleeping bags that zipped together, and his body temperature runs about 5 degrees higher than mine at all times. I don’t remember the last time I was so thankful to feel the warmth of the sun! Brice had never been camping before, and I’m not sure I’ll have an easy time convincing him to go again unless we have better padding underneath our sleeping bags and a ride to the campgrounds!

This weekend, I was thankful to see my newly engaged cousin and her wonderful fiancé, Lauren and John, for their engagement party in Denver. They are living in Virginia while he is finishing up law school, and were unable to come out for Brice and my wedding in June, so it was really nice to see her and hear their engagement story. This morning, I caught up with another newly engaged friend, Maureen, which was great, because I hadn’t seen her in months. Both ladies mean so much to me, and I feel so lucky that they’re in my life. I am so happy for both of them!

This week, I have round 1 of parent-teacher conferences, and then Brice and I are off to Santa Fe for my friend Josh’s wedding. That’s sure to be a fun time, since Brice and I fell in love with Santa Fe in March, when we went for a pre-wedding getaway (you  know, before all of the madness began). We’ll get to be in a great place, with some great friends, celebrating a great event. Can’t wait for our weekend-warrior-ness to continue!

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Woosh…

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Happy Birthday, Mom!
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday afternoons have a distinct feeling of “dread’ to them; the weekend is ending, and we’re spending our time getting ready for Monday by doing laundry, dishes, or housework that we can’t do once the workweek begins.

Yes, it’s summer for me, and I don’t have to work right now. But I’ve made the choice to take a class or two this summer and teach summer school, which does require some actual “work” on my part. I’m writing papers every day for the class I’m taking, and when I’m home, I’m planning lessons for summer school (one class down, one to go!). I doing al of my work, I’m noticing how quickly each day goes by, and in turn, how quickly summer is starting to pass. I’ve always felt that once my mother’s birthday rolls around, and people have finished “ooooh-ing” and “aaaah-ing” over the 4th of July fireworks, the summer is halfway over and will soon be drawing to a close.

With my unofficial summer halfway mark coming up this week, I can’t help but think about how I felt early in Man. Work was mandatory, and I had a difficult time being in the building that had let me go. I had the support of friends and family, but felt alone in my situation. Now, almost 2 months later, I’m happy to work, and have never felt more loved. Gotta love how time flies.

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London, Day 4

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Tower Bridge
Such a cool view from the Tower of London.

My phone is frustrating me, because I had a nice, detailed email for you and it wasn’t saved after I tried to send it, so this will be short.

We went to the Tower of London today and saw the Crown Jewels, along with some of Henry VIII’s armor and some torture devices. The Crown Jewels were incredible, and a couple of the crowns had eyeball-sized diamonds, if not bigger.

We then went to Buckingham Palace. I saw the guards and the front gates, which are beautiful, but not terribly exciting.

We then went to the British Museum. The crowds were nearly intolerable, and Brice left Karen and I to go see the Egyptian mummies while he went to a cafe. We saw the mummy of Cleopatra and the actual Rosetta Stone. Even though the crowds made me a little grouchy, I was really glad I was able to see them.

Tomorrow Karen has deemed a “fashion day”, so we will go shopping on Bond Street and on Covent Garden, but not Harrod’s, because it is a little snooty and from what we’ve heard, kind of like hanging out at a snobby Manhattan Macy’s. I miss you and hope all is well at home.

Love, Cait

London, Day 2

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A shot of the London Eye, over some cool apartments in London.

Half a pint! We had a great time at the pub down the street, about a block down. Lots of good beer, some hard cider, and a couple of Baileys drinks. We were more jet-lagged than we thought we would be, and each of us was up for a few hours in the middle of the night.

This morning, we went on a double decker bus tour and I took tons of pictures of everything: cool architecture, fun shops, and the classic buildings. I attached a few pictures to show you what we saw.

Afterwards, we went to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. We saw a number of famous works, including some Van Gogh and Rembrandt, and Vermeer and Degas. Manet and Monet had works there as well, and we were able to see my favorite painting, “The Water-lily Pond”, up close.

We then walked to Leicester Square, which is the theater district, and found a cute sandwich shop and walked around the cobblestones, looking at pubs and fun wine bars. We rode the tube all over the city today – it’s very stuffy and hot despite the very pleasant weather, but so far it seems like the best and easiest way to get around. I’ve gotten myself pretty well oriented, and have done well navigating in the 2 days I’ve been here.

Tonight, we’re heading out to a casual dinner on Queensway, the main street that we’re closest to, and back to the pub before turning in. No word on tomorrow’s adventures yet.

Can you forward this on to my siblings? Siblings, send me a reply so that I can include you in future emails?

Miss you. Love you all.

Cait