Oh, wasn't it just a lovely wedding? There were so many lovely things.
First, the church. I've had the privileged of visiting Westminster Abby on a number of occasions. It is an exceedingly beautiful church and I always think that beautiful churches need very little adornment. I was beyond happy to see that they hadn't tried to outdo their surroundings by adding gobs of flowers. I loved the young (I'm guessing) oak trees in the nave of the church. I thought it was very symbolic, considering the newly minted Middleton Family coat of arms with its acorns.
The music was amazing. I throughly enjoyed listening to the pre-wedding, gathering of guests as the orchestra and organ took turns playing. And, as always, the Westminster Choir rocked my socks.
I love that William and Harry are so close.
It seems like Harry is exactly the kind of guy you'd want around
to keep your mind off the fact that billions of people are watching you tie the knot.
And they do make a dashing pair.
Pippa's dress was pretty and she looked lovely in it.
I am not a big fan of the cowl neck because I am, as the
British say, rather buxom so I don't feel that I can really pull it off.
Plus this dress looked really difficult to walk in.
I was very nervous for her whenever she approached steps.
And finally, after weeks and weeks of speculation, the bride arrived and we got to see
The dress was classic, elegant, almost retro. I thought that it was lovely dress and not very far off
from what I hoped she'd be wearing. It reminded me of dresses worn by two other famous royal brides.
I was also happy to see lilies of the valley in her simple and classic bouquet.
There were a lot of awesome hats but no one ever out does the York girls
in the crazy hat category. Look at that bow thing on Beatrice's head.
Other favourite moments:
William sneaking a peek at his bride. Apparently a royal groom does not watch his bride walk down the aisle. He only looks at her when she arrives by his side at the alter. William, though, couldn't resist. (I saw you, you cheeky monkey.)
William having trouble slipping the ring onto Catherine's finger.
The Bishop of London gave a beautiful address that began with a quote from St Catherine of Sienna, whose festival day is today. "Be who god meant you to be," said the saint," and you will set the world on fire." It was a lovely sermon that you can it read in its entirety here.
The smile that flashed across Catherine's face every time a cheer went up from the crowd outside.
As I watched the wedding this morning, I couldn't help but remember my childhood aspirations of becoming a princess. I thought about the sparkly crowns, the pretty dresses, the awesome castles. You know, the fun parts of being a princess. But then I thought, "For the rest of her life she will be the most watched woman in the world." And I thought about how impossibly high the expectations are for her from now on. And I thought about how that part probably isn't nearly as much fun as the sparkly part. She's been the royal girlfriend for eight years now, so I'm sure she's thought about these things, weighed the pros and the cons. I honestly believe that she and William as a couple have been very thoughtful about their relationship in the past and I believe that she is prepared to be William's wife with all that that entails. She seems to be very close to her family and they will always keep her grounded. She and Prince William seem a very good match and very much in love, which is really the most important thing.
So cheers to the newlyweds! I wish you the best of luck and all the happiness in the world!
My mother tells me that when I was a very little girl I sat glued to the television watching as Lady Diana Spencer married her Prince. And I can believe it. I have vague sun faded recollections, snapshots really, of a huge crowd gathered outside of Buckingham Palace waiting to see the newlyweds appear on the balcony for their first public kiss as man and wife. It was a fairy tale and it was probably then that my fascination with Great Britain and its royal family was born.
Library of Congress
And really what's not to love? It's a nation of incredible beauty, endurance, culture and soap operatic like history. (I mean, does history get more dramatic than the Tudor period? In my opinion, no.) For 1,162 years there has been one family (well, more or less) who has ridden the tides and helmed the ship that is England and now one of them is getting married. Like so many of his fellow royals of late, the prince I grew up watching on TV has chosen his beautiful princess from the masses. It's a real fairytale. Not the overplayed, and now we know, false fairytale of his parents.
It's my understanding that there has been a lot of hype, especially in the US, about this wedding and that, for some, it's getting old. We don't have cable at the moment, so I wouldn't know about that. Having lived in London, I feel a certain amount of affection for this couple. Plus, I love a good romance with a happy ending so tomorrow I will be watching Miss Kate Middleton become Princess William of Wales. And when she does, she will be joining quite a growing number of other beautiful non royal women who have found their royal prince.
Remember last week when I told you that I was coming down with the flu? Well, long story short, The Boy caught the bug two days later and we spent the entirety of the Easter in flu misery. The one bright spot seemed to be that The Babe had avoided the plague. That was until about 3:30 Tuesday morning when I heard on single, solitary baby cough echo through an otherwise quiet house. I prayed it was just a little tickle in his throat, but I knew it was more. Later that morning he woke up with a fever and so we all trudged up to the doctor, just to make sure that it was the flu and not something more sinister. Aside from the fever, The Babe was feeling OK at the time but things quickly went downhill. He and I slept most of Tuesday. He developed a horrible, choking kind of cough. That night his fever got much much worse. At one point our random number generator (also known as the MOBI Digital Ultra Thermometer which is seriously a piece of crap. Do not waste your cash.) reported his temperature as 106.9, but since that thing is a lying piece of poo, we checked it again immediately and his fever was down to 104. Obviously I didn't need it to know that his fever was really high so we called the hospital. They gave us the standard "high fevers are common with small children if he becomes lethargic (like can't maintain eye contact lethargic) then bring him in." He just had a high fever and a bad cough, so gave him some baby paracetamol, baby Tylenol to you peeps in the States, and he was finally able to sleep. He's been miserable and when The Babe is miserable the only thing he wants is cuddles from Mommie. All. The. Time. Even when he's asleep he has to be touching me.
So that's what I've been up to this week. Aside from being super bummed about my kiddo being sick, I'm also bummed because I have a ton of Royal Wedding stuff I wanted to share with you. Maybe I'll still be able to. If The Babe will agree to a one arm snuggle. :-)
I know this is really random, but I am looking into buying the Phil & Teds Smart Stroller. I noticed you were able to use your Maxi Cosi car seat. I was wondering was that just the Smart adapter that you use ? On their website, it specifies that only the Graco Snugride would be able to fit the adapter.
Thank you for your time!
Oh the joys of national rating systems! The rating systems in Europe/the UK are completely different than the rating system in the US.
If you live in the UK, you can make the Smart Buggy compatible with the MaxiCosi Cabrio Fix car seat by purchasing these nifty little car seat adaptors from Mothercare. Unfortunately the Cabrio Fix is not sold in the US, due to said rating system.
If you live in the US, then the Graco SnugRide and Snugride 2 (which are not sold in the UK) can be made compatible with Smart Buggy using these adaptors.
From the comments section:
Thanks for posting a review of Phil and Teds Smart buggy. I'm thinking to get one too as I'm going overseas soon just me and my baby. In your experience, did your baby sleep/eat/sit comfortably on his smart buggy? Mine is only 8 months old and when we tried putting him on the buggy, he can't rest his foot down (too short I think). Our normal stroller is Bugaboo Cameleon which is very comfortable for him, but quite heavy for me since it comes in 2 pieces. So do you think, is it better if I use the Smart buggy for travelling instead of my Bugaboo?
Sleeping, eating, riding, The Babe was always comfortable in his Smart Buggy. There isn't much of a recline for sleeping, though, but that was not an issue for us. Seriously, the kid can sleep anywhere. He was about 11 months old when we first got "The Bug" and his feet didn't reach the foot rest either, but he never seemed to mind. Also, The Smart Buggy was not designed for extra bumpy sidewalks and it takes some practice to get it to "pop up" on its back wheels to overtake things like curbs. The Bugaboo Cameleon and The Smart Buggy look an awful lot alike in my opinion. The Smart Buggy is slightly smaller size wise and weighs 2.5 lbs less than the Cameleon - not that much of a difference to me. If it were me, I would just stick with the Bugaboo. You're little one is already use to it and comfortable in it and the difference between the two is really very small.
That spring my sister got married. The week of the wedding, I got sick. It was nothing especially earth shattering, just the same semi annual bout with strep throat I'd been having since my sophomore year in college. This one was particularly ill timed, though, in that not only was I scheduled to be a bridesmaid but my sister also wanted me to sing. Somehow, by sheer will power alone I guess, I was able to make a good enough recovery in three days to hobble down the aisle under my own steam and not completely embarrass myself in song. I went back to classes and work and rehearsals in Memphis thinking that I was well on my way to recovery.
Two weeks later I got sick again. And I mean really sick. When my fever hit 104 I climbed off the couch and went to the school infirmary to ask if maybe I should go check myself in to a hospital (and, really, if you have to ask you probably should but I didn't have health insurance) or, in lieu of a hospital, to ask for my usual round of miracle antibiotics, also known as The Z-pack. They gave me the Z-pack and I went back to my apartment to convalesce. It took me two weeks to recover. I fell behind in my classes and prep for performances. I lost my job. More disturbingly, though, was the fact that I'd lost maybe 20 lbs in one month and I didn't feel...well. Physically, I was exhausted. I lacked the energy to climb the stairs to my second floor apartment so I very rarely went out unless I absolutely had to. Mentally, well, I can look back on that time and say that I wasn't making good choices. I became increasingly erratic, paranoid, crazy. The Boy was watching this from a safe distance in Boston where he was having problems of his own, thinking who knows what, until finally one day he'd had enough and simply stopped calling. Around the very same time my sister was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. While on the phone with my dad one day he lamented "What's wrong with my girls?" My parents were so concerned that they purchase an individual health plan for me. But I continued to pretend or hope that everything was fine, even though I knew something was deeply deeply wrong.
I returned to Starkville in June to attend another friend's wedding. My mom and I were sitting outside one evening when I leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees and pulling my head back to look up. In the process, I exposed my neck.
"What's that?" my mom asked. I was surprised by the urgency in her voice.
"That. On your neck."
I felt my neck. Sure enough there was a bump on the right side. A large bump. In fact it was a ...and I hate this word...goiter. She knew right then that my thyroid gland was going haywire. Autoimmune issues, especially ones dealing with the thyroid, run in her family and I had not been spared.
I moved home later that month. I met with my doctor who did some tests. My thyroid hormone levels were crazy. He recommended I see an endocrinologist. I made a list of all the things that I thought were going wrong with my body. It was a long two pages worth of symptoms. My mother came with me to my appointment and listened as I ran down that list. Every now and then she would add something that she felt I had left out. There were physical things like my heart racing as though I were running a marathon at even the slightest physical exertion, like say standing up, and the extreme shortness of breath. My hands shook. My hair was starting to fall out. Even though I'd lost weight with the strep throat, I'd managed to gain 50 lbs in a few short months. I had hot flashes. And there were the mental things. I was tired, but I couldn't sleep. The sound of someone breathing or eating or drinking next to me drove me insane. I was so paranoid - and I don't even know about what - that I had started to sleep with a knife under my bed. I read this list to the doctor who nodded and said, "Yup, you have Graves Disease."
For some reason the mentally ill part was much more disconcerting to me than the physically ill part. I guess I figured that the physical part was probably much easier to fix. I was afraid that the mental part had already ruined relationships that were important to me, that those people were gone and I would never get the chance to tell them that there was this little gland that was broken and that's the reason I'd gone a bit off my rocker. It wasn't me. It was my stupid thyroid. Even if I got the chance, would they believe me? What if I got better physically, but mentally I was still a mess? The doctor explained that she had treated women with this condition whose marriages had failed during their illness because the husbands simply could not understand what was going on with their wives. The women were completely different people. And then these women got treatment. They got better. And they got remarried to their ex husbands.
The tests showed that my thyroid was so broken that there were really only two options for treatment. The first was to take a dose of radioactive iodine that would completely or mostly destroy my thyroid. The second was surgical removal. One of the possible complications of surgery is vocal cord paralysis. I was a singer. I opted for the radioactive iodine. I was given a prescription for beta blockers to control my out of control heart rate and sent home to wait for my appointment at the hospital.
The treatment was pretty straight forward. I went in, took one pill, then waited a few hours. I went back and they measured how much of whatever was in the first pill was absorbed by my thyroid, which in turn determined the dosage of radioactive iodine I received. When the radioactive pill arrived from the nuclear medicine lab, I was called back to a little room. The technicians brought in a little grey 8x8 metal box with a bright yellow radioactive stencil painted on two sides. They not so reassuringly told me not to open the box until they had left the room. (To this day the memory of this moment makes me giggle. ) I opened the box, took the pill, and went home radioactive where I waited for it to work its magic and zap my broken thyroid.
A few weeks later I went back to the doctor to see if my thyroid levels had leveled out, meaning that the treatment had worked. They hadn't but that didn't mean that they wouldn't. Because I was so young I had been given a low-ish dose of radioactive iodine in the hopes that it would destroy just enough of my thyroid to stop it being so overactive but not so much that I would have to be on a regulating hormone for the rest of my life. It sounded a bit of tricky science to me, but my doctor was optimistic. Sometimes these things take time. I went back 3 months later - a full six months after treatment - and there were no significant changes. Perhaps I'd even gotten a little worse because I was told that 1) the first treatment had not worked and 2) I would probably have to be give the maximum dosage allowed. It would, in all likelihood, completely destroy my thyroid. If the treatment didn't work the second time around, the thyroid would have to be removed surgically. In the mean time I was ordered to do nothing "strenuous". Like what? I asked. Like walking to the mailbox was my answer.
I knew almost instantly after taking the second pill that it was doing something. My neck started hurting before we even made it to the car. This was a tell tale sign that that little pill was doing its job. Three months later I returned to the doctor. My levels were bottoming out. The treatment had finally worked. There was a new intern working with the doctor on this visit. We were introduced and the doctor said to her intern, " This little girl had the worst thyroid levels of anyone I've ever seen." On the way home I told my mom how strange this comment seemed to me and my mother told me that she and my father had been turns looking in on me in the middle of the night just to make sure that I was still breathing. For some reason it was the first time I really realized how serious the situation had been. And I was so very thankful for my parents, for my doctors, and most of all for my health.
Yesterday in a fit of either optimism or denial about the flu situation, The Boy and I bundled up The Babe and took to the road. Our original intent was to go feed the deer dry spaghetti at the Dyrehaven deer park in Norreskov Forest. We quickly gave up on that, though, after conflicting Google map directions from our GPS and iPhone. Instead The Boy drove us to Jelling (pronounced Yelling), a town just west of Vejle, and home to The Jelling Monuments.
The site is made up of two large mounds and in between the mounds are two runic stones and a charming little church. This is the third church built here. The first was erected around the year 1100.
The smaller stone is the oldest and was placed here by King Gorm the Old in memory of his queen. It reads: Gorm King made this memorial stone for Thyra, his wife, Denmark's pride.
The larger stone was placed here by Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth. On this side of the stone Christ is depicted as standing in the shape of a cross and entwined in branches. The inscription on the stone reads: "King Harald ordered this monument made in memory of Gorm, his father, and in the memory of Thyra, his mother; that Harald who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians." This stone is called Denmark's baptism certificate since it announced Denmark's conversion to Christianity.
The stones are also significant in that they carry the oldest inscriptions referring to Denmark as a nation and The Danes as a people.
We're all feeling a little under the weather today. I don't know about you, but when I feel the flu coming on (Yes, the flu. Again. That's twice in one month. Must be something in the water. Or the air.) the last thing I want to do is stand in front of a stove for an hour or two chopping and cooking. That's why this recipe is so great. It's pretty off the cuff and lazy. There's very little measuring involved. Certainly there's very little time standing over the stove. The end result is a yummy, healthy soup - exactly what the doctor ordered.
Belle's Lazy Minestrone Soup
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
(you could also use sausage if you wanted)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6-8 cups chicken broth (depending on how thick you like your soup)
3 carrots, chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can chopped tomatoes (with basil if you have it)
fresh or frozen broccoli florets, a few handfuls
fresh or frozen spinach, a few handfuls
dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper to taste
a few handfuls of dried pasta (penne, spiral or the like)
Pour enough olive oil into a large pot to cover the bottom and heat over medium high heat.
Add onion and sauté for 3 ish minutes, then add the chicken. Sauté together for 5 or so minutes. If your pot starts to look a little dry, add a little more olive oil before adding the garlic. Sauté or another 3 or so minutes.
Add one cup of your chicken broth to the pan and then get all the good stuff off the bottom of the pan by scraping it with a wire whisk.
Add the the rest of the broth.
Add cannellini beans, kidney beans, tomatoes and chopped carrots.
Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil and then turn it down to medium low to let simmer.
Go play with your kid/watch an episode of FRIENDS/finish reading that chapter in your book.
The next time you wander back into the kitchen for a glass of water (about 30 minutes later), give the pot a stir and throw in your broccoli and pasta.
Go do something lazy or productive for 15 minutes. It's your call.
Come back and stir in the spinach.
Once the spinach is done, ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese.
If you subscribe to my feed you just got a really really really old and unfinished rough draft of a post on the Phil and Ted's Smart Buggy. I blame The Boy. He was was playing on my blog without adult supervison.
Wanna know something they aren't really big on here in Denmark or Scandinavia in general, as far as I can tell? Bathtubs. I haven't seen a single one in an actual house or hotel room since our arrival. Now, that's not to say that tubs don't exist here. I've seen them for sale in home improvement stores. It's just that if the houses and hotels we've stayed in are any indication, then the Danes seem to be more of a showering kind of people. They take it seriously, too, as evidenced by the "steam cubical" below.
That is a serious shower.
Wanna know someone who is into bathtubs? The Babe. He likes to get in the tub with his ducks (so he can throw them out) and splash and catch the bubbles I blow at him. So when we moved into our shower only apartment, we knew we were going to have to get the kiddo his own bathtub. Now I hate hate HATE the big hard plastic kids' tubs. They take up a ton of space. It's not like we can just throw them in a cupboard or a closet until the next bath time because we just don't have that much storage space. I'd be fine with leaving it out (maybe) except that design wise, they're kinda not that pretty. And if I'm going to own something that's going to take up valuable space, that I have to walk around or trip over, then it should at least look pretty.
And then I laid my eyes on the FlexiBathfrom the Danish company A Real Cool World. I instantly recognised it as a functional, foldable space saving thing of beauty but I was a little skeptical. Would The Babe fit? The tub looked so small and my little boy looks so big. I shouldn't have worried. There's plenty of room in his Flexibath for him and a few of his little yellow duckie friends.
Here's The Babe enjoying his bath, which conveniently and easily fits inside our shower.
And here's the tub sans baby.
I have to say, I love the color contrast on the foldable lines.
There is a little plug (that I forgot to snag a photo of) that changes
color to tell you if the water is too hot, too cold, or just right.
Doesn't it look like origami?
And here it is tucked out of the way under our bathroom cabinets, but because
it folds down so flat there are two or three different places we could store it in
the bathroom with no problem.
What does The Babe think about his Flexibath? Well, let's just say he likes it so much that he's been known pull it out all by himself before bath time.