Tuesday, June 30, 2009


On the days that Chase goes to school, he gets to have 30 minutes of Spanish class. He loves Spanish class. So much so that we pick him up about 45 minutes later than we used to so that he doesn't miss it. He also loves how when his class walks through the hallway to get to Spanish, he gets to grab on to the back of the shirt of the person standing in front him. I guess this is a measure the teachers use to makes sure that no one gets lost, but since all of the doors at school are locked and monitored, it's probably a bit of an overkill. Anyway, Chase has taken to grabbing on to our shirts here at home and telling us that it's time to go to Spanish. So, tonight when he grabbed Andy's shirt, we had this conversation.

Chase: We're going to Spanish now.

Mama: You like Spanish, huh?

Chase: Yea!

Mama: Do you know how to say Hello in Spanish?

Chase: Yea!

Mama: How?

Chase: Like this. "Hello, Spanish!"

I think those classes are really starting to payoff.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Buyer's Remorse

The store was having a sale, & boy did it look enticing in the window display--I do so love pink. So, I went ahead and bought one. I had big plans for it, and promptly went to put it away in its new home below the ovens. It was at that point that I realized the downfalls of impulse shopping.

It doesn't fit in the snug little dwelling that I had designated for it. I can't think of anywhere else to put it either. Anyone want to take it off of my hands? I'm offering low low financing and a free gift with purchase.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Dawning of the Chasefields & McAmayas Feud

Long ago, the Chasefields & McAmayas were the best of friends. They would spend many long hours lazing in the shade enjoying the pleasure of the other's company. Sadly, this blissful coexistence met it's demise one beautiful June day when the families' friendship was forever torn apart. Not for money or love. Oh no, this war was fought over a package of Cars fruit snacks.

It all began when the young McAmaya decided she needed to have the yummy sugar gummy snack. So she swiped it from little Chasefield before he knew what was happening.

Being bigger, stronger and faster, the enraged Chasefield quickly retrieved his treasure from the claws of his new nemesis.

She, of course, was outraged. The once tight bond the pair had shared was broken beyond repair.

Chasefield may have won this battle,

but judging by the determination on McAmaya's face, my money's on her taking the war.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finally, I will be a reality tv star!

Travel Channel hunting down "Worst Driver"

Seriously who doubts my ability to win the entire thing? Sometimes when attempting the most vexing task of trying to navigate my way into a parking space , my mind begins to wonder how it was that I ever passed my driving test--on the first try no less. The only answer that I can ever come up with is: self preservation.

The DMV's road test proctor was so grateful that he survived his first shotgun experience with me at the helm, that he decided not to chance fate a second time. I'm sure that his thoughts were something like, "Just pass this lunatic, so I never have to be front row center for another round of her vehicular blundering." Drivers all over Northern Virginia surely curse his name daily.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's the circle, the circle of travel

"There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done."

---Circle of Life, lyrics by the amazing Tim Rice

Our second morning in London found us not as chipper as we'd been the previous morning. I think the jet lag and fatigue from running around like crazy folk the day before were starting to take a toll. Oliver, smart guy that he is, must have foreseen the dramatic decrease in energy that we would experience because he'd scheduled a more laid back trip for that day. In the morning, we toured Blenheim Palace which was my favorite of all the palaces we saw in England. Blenheim is where Winston Churchill was born, and they had bits and pieces of ephemera from his life tucked throughout the interior. The palace also had a stunning library that reminded me of the one in Beauty and the Beast. I do love my books, so any room devoted to their storage is high on my list of favorites. However, nothing inside could rival the beauty of the grounds. Everything was so breathtakingly gorgeous outside. Drew and I took a long walk around the palace through the arboretum and past the rose garden. The lawn was so expansive and green that I wanted to just lay down on it and take a nap. I think the Duke of Marlborough would frown upon that though.

Once we were through with Blenheim--and by through I mean once Andy was able to pry me away and quiet my assertions that I belonged there--we headed to Hampton Court Palace which was Henry VIII's favorite abode. The Tudors are a fascinating study in human behavior, so it was interesting to see where they felt most comfortable residing. The visitor set up of this castle was more relaxed than the other palaces that we toured--you basically just walked around in whatever pattern you wanted where as the other palaces had a laid out traffic flow that moved you from room to room in a very efficient manner. The other difference with this palace was that areas were staged to invoke the look and feel the building possessed in the time of Henry. For instance, you could tour the kitchens where there were fake cuts of meat sitting on the tables and plastic pigs roasting over open spits. It had a very school field trip vibe. The building itself however was Andy's favorite. I think this is because it was the most cleanly lined building whereas the others we saw were very heavy handed with the ornate gilding of every available surface. Hampton Court is also Oliver's favorite, so much so that he proposed to his wife there. Not sure I'd choose Henry VIII's castle as the place that I promised forever to my future wife, but I bet it looked really pretty in the pictures.

By the end of our tour of Tudordom, we were pooped. We both fell asleep during the car ride home: I can attest that Jags are not lacking in the comfort department. We were so exhausted that we decided not to go see the Lion King that night. We went to the matinee the next day instead. I enjoyed the show very much. The puppeteering was phenomenal, and the actors that played Rafiki and Scar were both engaging. Oh, and during the intermission, Andy bought me a bag of Cadbury Shots. Heaven. on. Earth. Have you noticed that a lot of the more detailed memories of my trip revolve around sweet treats?

After the show, we went shopping. Harrods is an Egyptian style mall that is similar to paradise encompassing 1 million square feet of retail bliss. Or in other words: completely overwhelming. I will do all of my shopping at Harrods when I move to London even though I know that it will be credit suicide for sure. It was so cathartic to wander around all of the shiny new toys and sparkly jewelry. The best part had to be eating my grilled cheese at Mo's Dinner while watching women shop for shoes right next to me. They looked like they were having such a good time that I decided that I too was in desperate need of new shoes. So, as soon as I was done munching on my fries, I slid on over and bought myself a new pair of ballet flats--in wide width! They had a quite large selection of shoes that came in wide width, and the saleslady didn't even flinch when I asked for them. If it weren't clear enough already, let me just say again: I belong in England.

After shopping, we headed back to the hotel to pack for our early departure the next morning.

Our trip ended on a great note in the Virgin Upper Class Lounge. There I got a yummy waffle breakfast, a delicious skim latte, and a Hello! Magazine to read in the retro egg/bubble/hanging chair thing. I could totally live like this everyday. Now, if I can just get the Queen to acknowledge my rightful place in the succession...

And then before I knew it, we were home again to a hyper Chase and an Amaya who could climb the staircase. Imagine the crescendo and staccoto: The. Circle. of. Travel.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Hiking We Will Go--preferbly without an extra 30 pounds to lug along.

Sunday's weather was just beautiful, so we decided to head down to the riverfront park after lunch. During the walk, we had to play a constant game of Distract Chase From Thinking He Needs To Be Carried. It goes something like this:

Chase: Daddy carry you me. (he still doesn't understand that it is "Please carry me.")

Daddy: Chase, let's find the bridge do you see it?

Chase pointing to the bridge: There it is. Carry you me.

Daddy: Let's race to the bridge.

Chase: I can't want to race. Carry you me. Yes please.

Mama: Look Chase a baby toad. He's tiny.

Chase: Oohhh. Hop hop. Ribbit ribbit. Carry you me.

Daddy: Do you have your map Chase?

Chase: No, it's gone. Carry you me.

And on and on and on it went all the way to the river. When we got there, he was happy to use his own two feet to stomp in all of the mud. He was having so much fun that he threw a fit when it was time to leave.

Once we were on the trail headed back to civilization-our comedy of diversions commenced once more.

Chase: Mama, I want to carry you me.

Mama: Let's skip. Do you know how to skip Chase?

Chase trying to skip and laughing: I'm having fun. Carry you me now.

Sure kid, sure.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fancy having a go at London?

You may not know this, but I am a long lost, distant member of the British royal family--or at least I think I should be. I feel a kinship with the English as I so enjoy their humor, accents, architecture, queen, style, countryside--not so much their food, but neither do the Brits so no worries there. I have felt this way without ever having set one foot in English territory almost like being a queen exiled from her people. So sad. When Andy surprised me with a trip to London for my birthday, I was thrilled of course, but also a little apprehensive. Would the reality of the UK live up to the image that I had formed in my rather imaginative head?

It would be hard not to enjoy the trip--even if we were headed to Hoboken instead of London. For starters, it was just Drew & I going. And while I love my kids more than anything, I also love the occasional couple of days without the responsibilities of providing for their care. Second, my husband loves to travel, and he does it with style. First class all the way. On the plane, we had chairs that could turn into beds or any angle variation in between, continuous drink service and a TV that played whatever movie/show/game we wanted. Reveling in such luxury really made those 7 hours fly by and before I knew it we were taxiing around Heathrow. It was pretty late when we arrived, so the airport was relatively empty which meant that we quickly made our way through customs. Oliver, our guide for the trip met us in the building and took us to our waiting Jaguar where we met James our chauffeur. After a quick how do you do, Oliver said, "Home James" and away we flew to The Soho Hotel. Within 20 minutes of arriving at the hotel, I was all cuddled up in the bed ready for sleep. Stress free travel and I really do get on well.

The next day, Oliver and James took us on a whirlwind tour of London. We saw all of the major attractions: the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Parliament, the Prime Minister's residence & the Millennium Bridge--all before lunch. We'd be driven right up to whatever sight we were seeing, get out, take our tour, and be picked up right outside and driven to the next thing on the list. It was wonderful.

I think this picture is so London: the eye, the building, the bus. Love it!

What is that growing out of Andy's head?

This is the Millennium Bridge--which is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Thames. it was really neat to walk across it and see London from a different angle. The pictures below were taken on it. What I didn't know at the time, was that when it was first opened, the bridge was swaying & wobbling so much that they had to close it to rework its structuring. Sometimes modern isn't always better, eh?

For lunch we ate at a traditional pub, and then off we headed to Windsor Castle. We meandered through the grounds oohing and ahhing until our tummies began to make themselves known. Oliver took us to Strok's restaurant where we took tea on the terrace overlooking the River Thames. Bliss. I believe that afternoon tea could be my most favorite part of my London trip.

Must take an obligatory guard photo when traveling in England.

I'm moving to England, so I can take tea by the Thames everyday.

That evening we headed to Covent Garden to have dinner and explore a little more. I still remember the delicious pecan maple tart I had for dessert. In fact, I think I dreamed of it that night.