I have written many stories about fueling your child’s passion. Offering many opportunities for your kids to explore what it is they really love. For our son, it was photography & cars. Next month, his photographs will appear in an international car magazine!
For our daughter, it’s music, writing, animals & marine life. If you scroll through my archive, you’ll see many stories about her special beluga, swimming with dolphins in Jamaica, Florida & in Bermuda training 9 dolphins for a full day – gating, feeding, measuring, exercising & frolicking with these sociable, small-toothed whales, click: Favorite Day.
So when in England we heard about SeaTrek – known as Europe’s 1st Sea Bed Walk at Sea Life – we made sure to book it! The staff said they’ve never had a more enthusiastic participant! We’ll let the photos & 8-second video speak for themselves.
Our 11-year-old loved the sting rays, sea turtle, gorgeous fish, urchins, simply everything!
When I say we have a budding marine biologist in our midst, I think one might agree.
The Bright Spot – Oh, just everything about this story. Empower your kids. Fuel their passion. If you are in England, enjoy SeaTrek by clicking Sea Life to get more information: Sea Life.
We had a 2-week window between Phillip’s last chemical injection and the start of his radiation. It will be 40 rounds of daily radiation from June through August. He wanted to see his Mum. Click: Amazing Grace. Everyone needs their Mum at a time like this!
So we took our little one out of school late May/early June for this family emergency and visited relatives in Europe. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, Godchildren, close friends, everyone we could see within 2 weeks.
Phillip’s mother was overjoyed! Her 89th birthday was in June and she said seeing her son was the best gift ever!
Naturally, everyone we saw wanted to know how treatments were going. We could not rehash the details over and over. Not only is it draining for us but we didn’t want these conversations to overwhelm or frighten our youngest. Most of the time, we can shield her from it but when you’re traveling from home to home – or pub to pub, as is the case in England – folks want to catch up and we’re very sensitive to little ears in range.
Plus, we have striven to reclaim normalcy in the household & beyond for our family. Playing with friends & doing cool things was a mainstay.
And Legoland was awesome but laying on the grass topped all!! Why? Because there are no ticks or pesticides for ticks at all where Grandma lives and Darling was so happy!! It’s the little things, isn’t it?
While staying for an overnight with dear friends about a hundred miles south of Scotland, we ventured with the girls to a nearby castle where parts of Harry Potter & Downton Abbey were filmed, click: Castles & Angels
Later, we drove nearly 300 miles south to Oxford to visit the university and delve into the history of this beautiful medieval city, click: Oxford
And because our budding marine biologist, during these 2 weeks, would unfortunately be missing a highly-anticipated field trip to the beach to explore the biodiversity of the water’s ecosystem, we wanted to do something special for her and booked her for Seatrek at what’s known as Europe’s 1st Seabed Walk: SeaTrek
Her 5th grade teacher kindly allowed our daughter to give a full presentation to her class on the 3 adventures above & what made each so special.
And speaking of 5th grade, the Friday we left for the airport was the same day her class was split into just girls/just boys earlier that morning for “The Talk.” You know the one. Menstruation, growing bodies…
But unlike the lecture we had in school when I was that age – along with a cartoon movie with dancing flowers depicting our blossoming into young ladies – this talk was not only about girl stuff…but boy stuff, too! Would be shocking, but the school explained that with the advent of the Internet, kids see much more than we did at this age and need to know more material to educate and protect themselves.
Humm… Still found it shocking. But it certainly made for fits of laughter – of which we need much of these days – and especially with a silly 5th grader! as we passed by unassuming pubs like the Dandy Cock, or were served Nobby Nuts (salted peanuts) or when we read Spotted Dick on the menu – a British sponge pudding made with raisins & served with custard – but I mean, seriously, come on!
When we all revived in the car from laughing so hard, we arrived at one of Phillip’s oldest friend’s for a lovely meal. No, not at the Dandy Cock. We walked over buttercup-covered hills and along lakes & clifftops.
The Bright Spot – finding the hilarious things in life out of the simplest moments! And appreciating the glorious countryside with our loved ones.
Blessed with lovely skin & timeless English beauty, my mother-in-law, Grace, and the Queen have always borne a striking resemblance. A woman ahead of her time, Grace, always gave new things a shot.
And nothing slows her down! Approaching 90, she has a personal trainer at the gym, Skypes us every Saturday without fail, uploads her digital images to her hard drive and e-mails family nearly every day.
The epitome of Englishness, she is gracious, discreet and always polite. During tough or sad times, Grace keeps a stiff upper lip and her chin up.
Her mainstay, of course, is proper English tea. It must steep in a silver pot and the teacup must have a white interior.
She keeps her gardener busy and has redecorated parts of her home four times in the past 10 years.
In Grandma’s Gardens:
Grace is an avid reader & animal lover. She enjoyed many years dancing with her dashing husband, Geoff, whom she misses very much.
I’ve learned lots of things from my mother-in-law over the years, from baby tips and awesome authors to food advice, fabric care and beauty tips.
One of my favorite gifts from my mother-in-law was this beautiful statue sent from England shortly before I gave birth to our daughter.
A few months old (above) 4 years old (below)
To avoid arthritis in her hands, Grace knits and knits and knits. Beautiful sweaters and hats and any request our little one desires.
I mean any! Like the day our 7-year-old said, “Grandma, can you please knit me a cuttlefish & grimpoteuthis?” And in short order, the beautiful cuddly sea creatures arrived in the gift package made with grandmother’s loving hands. A whole array of knitted marine life:
Knitted headbands & sweaters, ballerina shrugs and ponytail hats!
The loss of her beloved husband took a toll on her but did not stop Grace from living life. She hopped on a plane to surprise my husband for his birthday and stayed for Christmas that year.
Grace flew over every summer to stay with us. In 2001, my Mom took Grace and me to Mohegan Sun, the big casino upstate for a grand shebang before my mother-in-law headed back to England. It was the 1st time she visited a casino. My husband warned, “My mother may weary, don’t stay out late.”
Honestly, nothing wearied her the past 8 decades… so when I arrived home at 4 AM with two happy grandmas, my husband was speechless. Not only did his mother have a marvelous time, she even won!
A few hours later, the towers came down and the world changed forever. Flights were canceled that week and Grace stayed with us longer that year. Phillip worked by the towers and felt the 2nd building crash to the ground. It took hours and hours and hours for him to get out of the City and back home. It was a mother’s nightmare and
a wife’s torment. Late that night, he finally made it home. We were grateful to be together as a family again, safe and sound.
The Bright SpotTM – A Grandma’s love. Every visit with Grace has been memorable. The stories she tells, reminiscing the history of the family and her great love of Britain; she is a treasure in our lives and all who know her.
My mother-in-law and the Queen were born the same year…Grace is our very own queen xoxo
Nothing says Caribbean like the freeing feeling of music & dance in the evening breezes of the islands! From high in the sky…
to underwater exploration, our 8-year-old reveled in every adventure at the gorgeous Barcelo, an all-inclusive resort in the beautiful Dominican Republic.
Tropical paradise & pristine waters,
Phillip’s favorite place…the swim-up bar,
where our daughter bounced around in a giant beach ball
plus, elegant dining on the beach,
and, of course, Brenda, the monkey, who wondered why our little one had a tail just like hers 🙂 !
We booked the getaway the night before & left 26 hours later.
The trip started with smoked salmon & the latest edition of Sparkle World magazine…
and went full swing into shopping when we realized we forgot hats & sunglasses.
Snorkeling in the Caribbean,
sunsets & full moons made for the perfect setting.
Barcelo’s food was as beautiful as it was delicious
and chess was a must.
If you are looking for a place to flip over on your next vacation, Barcelo is it!
From the glass-bottomed boats to pool lounges, there’s something for everyone.
So come here and make your sand turtles a reality,
The Bright SpotTM – The Caribbean. Enough said. 😉