Posts filed under viola


Four? Really?! Four! 

It feels like yesterday Tyler & I were living life just the two of us... and then, I look at us and we look older. Tired. With unexpected wrinkles. And kids! Not just babies... but real full-blown kids.

And so, today marks the day our journey into parenthood began. Not the most glamorous of arrivals into this new chapter of life... in fact, more of a crash landing, if I'm being honest. But we survived... and, sweet Viola, you did, too.

You've been nothing short of a joy to watch grow from a tiny (and I mean tiny!) baby into a little girl. You're soft spoken and gentle, and most people never get more than a cheeky glance from you... but the backstage crew to your little show gets to see the silly and sweet little girl that you are.

You're delicate and almost nymph-like in the way you quietly slide in and out of settings. You're definitely the best hider of anyone I've ever met. Anyone in our family will agree that this may be your best talent.

You came out a cuddler and you still love to tiptoe to our bed at night and snuggle in beside me. Just this morning, you asked me to come hold your hand and cuddle "for just a little bit more" as I got dressed for the day. And so, I skipped putting on my makeup and climbed into bed to snuggle with you instead. 

I love you and am so proud to say I'm your mother. I'll never forget the first time I saw you and, literally, gasped and sobbed at how cute you were. In the midst of something so sad and so hard, there you were. I couldn't even understand how God had brought himself to share something so precious with us.

And I still feel the same way about you, sweet Viola. Happy Birthday, Baby A.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on February 23, 2017 and filed under love, life, kids, home, viola.

Pack Your Bags: The Perfect Normandy Itinerary

Over the weekend, we went with my students to Normandy. What started as a regular group trip evolved into an epic getaway when my friend, Stacy, hooked us up with a stay in the Chateau de Servigny. As you may have imagined, my students heads nearly fell off when we rolled up and they saw our accommodations for the weekend. 

Luckily, the fun didn't stop there. We had a day in Bayeaux- eating at our favorite spot and seeing the famous tapestry, touring the D-Day beaches, visiting Mont St. Michel in all of it's Easter Sunday madness, frolicking through the port side town of Honfleur and wandering through Monet's garden in Giverny.

Normandy isn't the easiest place to get to from Paris, but I'm going to make it a little easierby doing a suggested itinerary for a few days there. In exchange, you have to indulge me and see a slew of pictures from our weekend away. If it's any consolation, most were taken by Stacy (who just happens to be an amazing photographer) and they are really pretty.





You have a few options to get to Normandy- either rent a car at Hertz in Gare du Nord or train from Paris to Caen. From there, rent a car and drive from there.

Head to Bayeux (approximately 20 minutes from Caen).

Lunch at La Moulin de Galette (get the Galette l'Aure - but sub out the chicken for ham. It's incredible.)

Spend the rest of the day enjoying the tiny town of Bayeux: visit the Bayeux Tapestry, explore the town, or wandering through the town's stunning cathedral.

Stay at the Hotel Churchill, Reine Mathilde or the pricier (but equally central), Villa Lara Hotel.



Wake up. Have breakfast in Bayeux.

Explore Utah Beach. 

Drive to St-Mere-Eglise. Explore the Paratroopers Museum there. See the "paratrooper" hanging in memory of the US soldier who survived German fire by playing dead as he hung, stuck on the village's church steeple, during the chaos of D-Day. Eat lunch. Visit the tasty bakery in town.

Drive to La Pointe du Hoc. Visit the stunning place dotted with craters from explosions and explore German armories. 

Visit Omaha Beach & The American Cemetery above the beach.

Return to Bayeux. Relax for the evening in town.



Breakfast in Bayeux- at the hotel or from one of the nearby local cafes.

Depart for Mont St. Michel. (If you're not up for driving. Hotel Churchill offers a daily shuttle from their hotel to Mont St. Michel at an affordable rate!) The drive is two hours from Bayeux, and you'll have to either take the shuttle bus from the parking lot or walk 30 minutes to the famous rocky village.

Explore Mont St. Michel. Eat in town, do some souvenir shopping, explore the Abbey on top of the town, and enjoy the views offered from the top. You'll want about 2.5 hours to explore the town after you reach the base of it.

Depart Mont St. Michel. If you leave early enough, you can stop for lunch in Villedieu Les Poeêles. This tiny town is not only really cute with lots of cafes, shops and bakeries, but it also is the home to Mauviel copper cookware- the fancy kind that you can buy for 3x the cost in Williams-Sonoma.

Drive on to Honfleur, spend the evening eating in one of the endless restaurants dotted around the tiny seaside town.



Wake up in Honfleur. Shop around the town. Eat lunch in a cafe around the main port in the sunshine. Wander through the little streets. Visit Saint Catherine's Cathedral to see the naval-esque architecture of the fishing town.

Depart Honfleur for Giverny. Wander through Monet's family home, manicured gardens and legendary water garden. 

Drive back to Paris in time for dinner and an evening settling back into the City of Lights.



So there you have it- your Normandy getaway all planned out. Check out more travel advice in my France Travel Guide or contact me for a personalized consult for your vacation.


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy by L'Amour de Paris



Posted on April 2, 2016 and filed under france, viola.

Three times a Lady (HBD V!)

Today, Viola turns 3. What a girl. She's really smart, stunningly beautiful (in my biased opinion) and becoming a compassionate and caring girl. She often talks about how she once "was a little baby" and "is going to be a mommy soon." There are million little quirks that make her... her, but for some reason- I'll just write those down in my journal and in my heart. (And save you the gratuitous mom-ologue about how I think she is the best girl on the planet. You are welcome.)

So instead of the gushy stuff, I'll just cruise straight on to birthday festivities. As luck would have it, each February since Viola's birthday- we've been in France for work right on her birthday. This has paired up well and, simultaneously, set the bar extremely high for future years. As does the fact that we go to Disneyland, but we figure- its a good way to milk season passes that we use a bunch each year and it saves on birthday parties and gifts. Plus, it's so much fun!

Viola was so excited to wear her new Cinderella outfit on her birthday. She kept saying that everyone was going to think she was "Cinderella."

The day was great. Viola had a wonderful time. Harrison chummed around in his normal cheesey way as we scurried around the park. Tyler & I even got a bit of time to have some coffee while the kids both napped at the same time.

Obviously, she hated Disneyland. 

The RER ran slow and it took us forever to get home. By the time we got back to our (new! adorable!) apartment, I only had the energy to warm up some soup, slice up a baguette and toss it all on the table. We all just ate in a bit of a stupor after the long day we had just finished.

Afterwards, we sang "Happy Birthday!" to Viola and let her open up her presents.... which may or may not have been straws and plastic cutlery from IKEA. Hey, she's three, she got to go to Disney and she LOVED those forks.

It was a great day. I'm not sure the 23rd of February will ever pass where it won't feel like a BIG day. It's one of the best and worst days of my entire life. The juxtaposition of the days events of the girls birth are just so odd... but, we are really trying to make the day about celebrating Viola's birth. (Because-wow- what a great gift she is!) 


*Looking to travel to Disneyland Paris? Find my travel post about visiting the park here.

Since I get asked so often about Viola's clothes- I wanted to share this particular company that she wore today for her birthday: Courage & Kind. They make the sweetest clothes that are based off Disney movies. They feature small details from the movies that kids love, and parents can appreciate the clothes for their beautiful style and design. I'm such a big fan and they were really kind to send Viola a few pieces from their line for her birthday. Thank you so much!

*images original to aspiring kennedy



Posted on February 21, 2016 and filed under babies kennedy, viola.

A Forgettable Day Worth Remembering


In our old flat, we were just a few second away from Portobello Road. It made it a really easy walk to the market every Saturday. But since we moved to a different spot in the neighborhood, we have hardly gone at all this winter. (It's funny how demotivating a ten minute walk can be when it is cold outside.)

With the weather getting warmer and dryer, we decided we were up for the short trek to the market today. Plus, Viola wants to go to the park every day these days... so we decided to go to a different one for the sake of our sanity.

I can't really say anything special about the day. It was overcast and really windy. We walked through the market. I felt a bit frumpy and huge. Tyler had to leave early for a lunch, so Viola & I ate Paella on a side street by a band. We stopped by Poundland to buy kid's toothpaste, easter eggs and an unnecessary box of After Eight Mints. Then, we took the bus back home afterwards because I was too tired to walk the mile back uphill. We spent the rest of the day at home taking a cozy nap in Viola's room, eating Chinese food for dinner and meeting our beautiful new nephew, West, over FaceTime. (Probably the most memorable event of the day!)

The thing is: it wasn't that special, but I know that in a few years.... it will be days like this that I long for so badly. I'll miss the little details that made today- the pretty buildings, the tiny body eating lunch in my lap, the baby crowding out my stomach and giving me an extra waddle to my step, and the sweet guy who lets me chat his ear off while simultaneously endlessly pushes our daughter on the swing.

So, apologies if you were looking for advice on Notting Hill or were hoping for some fun links to more interesting sites. Today, I'm just putting away some boring memories in the bank for another day... with the knowledge that they'll grow in time into something even more valuable than I may see them for today.






*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

*red jacket c/o Joules

Posted on March 29, 2015 and filed under kids, life, pregnancy, viola.

Mother's Day (Three-In-One)


Today is Mother's Day in the UK, also known as "Mothering Sunday" which is a term that makes me giggle. Since we are kind of tethered to both the US & UK celebrations of this, the celebration always ends up slightly half-hearted. Which is fine by me. I feel loved and appreciated every day by my family every day- really I do. So boiling the day down to giving me my choice of where we eat for lunch, a bouquet of roses from Tesco and a card colored by Viola is more than enough for me.

I know Mother's Day probably should stir up a lot of emotion from me, but it kind of doesn't. It feels like most any other day to me for the most part, but I've had a thought in my brain for a while. Since it's a temporal thought that won't apply forever and since it is Mother's Day, I wanted to write it down here now.

I'm a mom, right? Right. I have a daughter. But I also have a daughter that died. And I also have a son on the way. It may look like I have one kid to the world, but in my head I have three very distinct children. 

The thing is, they're just all in different places. I have one with me. One in heaven. One on the way. It's a weird reality, and one that I haven't entirely been able to reconcile. Obviously, the hope is that the one on the way soon shifts the tally, and we have two here with us. 

But for now, instead of having a big family clumped together, Tyler and I find ourselves thinking about three sweet souls so far away from the each other. 

It's hard and weird to try to explain... but I think you can probably get the jist of it. I feel like Ebeneezer Scrooge being moved between the ghosts of Past, Present & Future. One with us, one lost, one to come. 

So there you have it... a blog post with no profound wrap-up. No advice or special tip to help anyone else. I just didn't feel like Mother's Day could be over writing down my thoughts. (I guess becoming a mom makes you do weird stuff like that, eh?)



Happy Mother's Day to anyone else in the UK. 

 I may not know you, but if you're constantly

feeling as drained at the end of each day as I feel

and are as crazy about your kids as I am-

just know, I think you're doing a really good job.


(And to the ones in the US & elsewhere, your day is coming!)






*framed photo by Parisian photographer, Stacy Reeves Gulledge. | Frame c/o White Company

*image original to Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on March 15, 2015 and filed under babies, babies kennedy, holiday, life, kids, viola.