Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jolly Ol England

It was a bit of a daunting a task to take an 8 month old and almost three year old on a nine hour flight to and from Enlgand but it was worth every minute! It was even worth the jet lag where Lily "lost her lunch" at the breakfast table the first morning we were there. That is not really polite conversation for a blog though is it? Let's focus on all the FUN we had!

The flight over was not really bad at all. We got the bulk head seats with an infant seat (think giant bouncy seat that doesn't bounce) for Gemma. Both girls slept about 4 hours (though not at the same time). They were pleasant and not a whine or moan out of either one really.

Grampy picked us up at the airport in his new Range Rover with special roof top box for all our luggage! We were feeling a bit weary but not enough for Lily to sleep during the car ride. She was too excited to get to Pear Tree Cottage and see the fish and Ginger the horse.

She wasted no time tending the pond and stream. She proceeded to scoop up all the mud with Grampy's net and muck up the pond enough you couldn't see the fish for three days!
Next up were wheel barrow rides around the garden.
What would be a spring visit to England without Pimm's and lemonade? Possible my favorite cocktail ever! We had a long list of things to eat and drink while home and this was definitely one of them!
Lily had a blast playing outside with all the loaner toys from Alex's cousin and Aunt. We were all pretty much over the worst of the jet lag by the second full day. We enjoyed going to the local village school for a sort of fun fair to raise money for the school. They had a bouncy house, games, and dancing. Lily still has the "temporary" tattoo on her arm she received. It has been three weeks! (Yes we bathe our child!)
We spent an afternoon at a nearby garden center that had a huge kids craft and play area. It was awesome! If we lived here I would go every week. The indoor play area even had things for Gemma to play with. They had a butterfly garden, outdoor animal area, and a cafe where we had tea and scones, or Alex's favorite, toasted tea cakes! Check, and check!
The next day we took a train to London for a three day stay. We happened to have the best weather and really the best time too! We arrived at Paddington station and found the statue for Lily. We had told her all about Paddington and G&G got her a book to learn about Paddington. She slept with the book every night and we have read them every night since. We got to ride in an iconic London Taxi and take the girls on their first ride in a double decker bus. Lily called it a "decker decker" bus and on her first ride up top in the front she explaimed, "you can see for miles from here!"
Our first afternoon we went to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground near Kensington Palace.
It was so awesome! The had a huge wood pirate ship to climb and play on.
A water feature to splash in.
Surrounded by tons of sand.
You would think we didn't have sand boxes here in Seattle. This amazing play area and all they wanted to do was play in the sand. I guess they are practicing for the summer at the beach!
It was so warm and sunny that we realized poor little baldy Gemma was going to get a sun burn on her head! Don't worry, Grampy got creative!
What good is a pirate ship without a little pirate?
This was Gemma's first time playing in sand. She loved it! I guess she is going to be a beach baby too. She didn't even try to eat it and enjoyed having her feet buried.
They had this really cool musical garden where you play these instruments with your body. Lily and Grandma danced a tune for us all!
After all that play, we needed to refuel with a 99flake. This is soft serve vanilla ice cream with a Cadbury flake stuck inside. It was on the must have list and it was fun to watch Lily have her first one! I think it was such a big hit she had some sort of ice cream almost every day of vacation!
After a busy first day we went back to the hotel then went to a nearby pub for fish n chips! Lily had her first scampi and chips and gobbled it all up. Check!

Day two started with a ride in the underground to Trafalgar square. We read a children's book called Katie in London and she meets the Lion in Trafalgar square and he comes to life to show her the sights of London. I think Lily was concerned the lion was going to come to life so she wouldn't get too close to him.
They have a count down to the London Summer Olympics 2012! Let's hope we get to go!
We walked from there down to Parliament, Big Ben, Downing Street and the London Eye!
Lily's jet lag and late nights started to catch up with her and she was less than enthused about sight seeing. I had to carry her all the way but once we reached big ben and the London eye she perked up!
We couldn't come all this way and not go for a ride on the "giant ferris wheel" could we?
This picture is enough to make those with a fear of heights nervous!
It was a great day to go, sunny and clear so we had great views. The last time we went on the London eye was when Alex and I were in London to shop for an engagement ring and bought one! Over five years ago! This city gets better each time you go!
Gemma had a great time seeing all the sights too! She was such a great baby, just goes with the flow, no fuss! I think she even enjoyed herself. I mean it isn't every day you have four adults to hold you and play with you at all times! Such a sweet girl!
 After the eye, Gemma came with Mom and Pops and did some more sight seeing and shopping. Grandma and Grampy took Lily on a boat tour along the Thames followed by a trip to Hamley's toy store. It is the London equivalent of FAO Schwartz in NYC. I guess she ran about the store screaming and couldn't believe her eyes. She got to have her finger nails painted like a lady bug, got a temporary tattoo, and picked out her birthday present. Heaven!
You would think after a day like that Lily would crash back at the hotel. No! Not when Grampy is in charge of bed! Alex and I got to have a nice dinner out while G&G stayed back with the girls. Gemma was asleep in our room before we even left for dinner. Grandma had it easy. Lily was supposed to fall asleep in G&G's room with Grampy but when we returned at 10PM she still had one eye open and was clinging to her Paddington book.
The last day in London G&G took Lily to the Natural History Mueseum (which is super cool by the way) and Alex, Gemma and I went to Harrods and looked about. We met back at the museum for lunch then headed back to take the train home. We only had one night back at Pear Tree before we drove down to Folkestone to see Meagan, Martin and Charlie!

We had a great time visiting the Cheeks and took a mini steam train ride near their house.
It was just the right size for Lily, Gemma and Charlie!
We took the train to a small town that has a carnival for kids! It was hilarious. They had these tiny rides perfect for a couple of almost three year olds! A ride on a mini "decker decker" bus!
A ride on a pirate ship. Can you see a trend here?
The Cheeks live by the sea and we took a walk on the board walk by the sea. Lily was desparate to get down on the sand and play and swim. We had to distract her with an ice cream and a sweet smooch!
Thanks Meags and Martin for hosting us. We had a great time!
We headed back to Uffington for a family gathering. Alex's cousin Rachel has a little boy named Edward George and it was the first time we were going to meet him. We were excited to have the kids all play together too.
Grandma England put on a great lunch for everyone and then spent her lunch time reading to Lily. She got a new Pooh bear book from Aunt Kate and Uncle Alan.
I think everyone enjoyed lunch and watching the kids all play together.
It was so good to meet you E.G. and thanks for letting us borrow some of your toys for the fortnight.
 I don't think we were really ready to go after two weeks. Too bad we had to get home to finish packing and face the big move! G&G needed us to go so they could quickly pack the camper van for their two month trip in France! They did get a chance to take Lily for an overnight in the camper van at a local campsight on a farm. She was in HEAVEN! I think she would sign up for the two weeks in France if she was invited! I guess we are going to have to come back really soon and do it all again!
Thanks Grandma and Grampy. We had the best time!

1 comment:

  1. I must say I have been reading and looking at all the great pics on this post for over an hour and really enjoying it. I almost must say I got a bit teary seeing how big the girls are. I feel I am missing them. :( Wow does Gemmou really look like Alex now.
    Okay off to read again. xxooxxoo