I never told you about our trip!!! As you may guess from the title, we hopped on a plane and headed on over to England. It had been a long time coming and with the stars alining for a brief moment, we were able to plan the trip. The last time we had gone there I was 8 months prego with AJ and we have been wanting to go back ever since he was born. I guess it all worked out in the end. They got to meet both kids and at pretty great times in their childhoods. AJ and Ryan were both a little out of sorts the whole trip but it's understandable. Anyone would be cranky if you shoved them on a plane for 9 hours and then shifted their internal clock by 5 hours. They both took a little time to warm up to everyone but by the end of the trip it was hugs and kisses all around. AJ keeps asking when we are going back. Soon I hope, very soon.
We left late in the evening on a Wednesday and arrived around 9:00 London time Thursday morning. David and Dawn both met us at the airport since they weren't sure how much luggage we were going to have, you know from carting two kids across the Atlantic for 9 days. Rosie had borrowed carseats for the kids from her work so we didn't have to worry about bringing their seats from home. Boy what a lifesaver! I will be forever grateful! We loaded up and headed to Nan's place first. I rode with Dawn, just me and her, no kids! It was so nice to be able to chat with her during the drive and not be interrupted by the kids every 3 seconds. Though from what Jasey and David tell me, neither AJ nor Ryan made a sound the whole drive. They sat looking out the windows and holding hands, so heart wrenchingly sad and adorably cute at the same time.
After a visit with Nan and a lovely lunch we headed to David and Dawns out in Maidenhead, near Windsor. We rested and got settled in, had a few beers (the theme of the week) then headed to a local pub that night for dinner, with more beer of course.
Friday Dawn drove us into Windsor so we could tour the castle and walk around town. The Queen was in residence, which was unusual for that day. Turns out she was there Knighting people that day (or whatever it's called). I guess my invite got lost in the mail. We saw the Queen's swans floating in the river. Across the bridge is Eton. Nina met up with us for the day. After the castle we went and had a traditional Afternoon Tea...and beer. If I remember correctly it was a High Tea, but I'm still figuring out the differences in them. We got some pictures in front of the Crooked House of Windsor. We had tea there last time we went when I was pregnant and I thought for sure I was going to bring the whole place down. It's a little nerve racking. Though I suppose if it's survived since the 1500s one American pregnant lady shouldn't be a worry. Either way it was nice to see the place still standing 5 years later.
Due to some scheduling conflicts we had to reschedule the family Sunday dinner for Saturday night instead. Everyone was there, we even got to meet everyone's significant others, we had a wonderful day! I helped out in the kitchen as much as I could though I was afraid to mess anything up. I didn't actually cook anything but everyone says I did fine and no one got sick so I'm inclined to believe them. There was beer and wine and cider flowing. I tried everyone of the desserts made, I believe there was 6 or 7 of them. Two of them I helped make, Bread Pudding and Banoffee Pie, and I must say they were tasty. Sadly I forgot to take pictures at the dinner. Jasey got this one of David, Scott, Rosie and myself on his phone so I stole it.
Later that same night it was girls night out. So we loaded up into two cars and headed to Eton to a pub everyone called The Henry. I'm not sure exactly what the name of it was but I'm assuming something along the lines of Henry VIII Public House. I had some more Guinness and cider. Guinness is so much tastier over there, it's pretty gross here.
Sunday we loaded up and headed into London to little David's flat. We ate some yummy turkish food with all of the guys. I was having a bit of an off day as were the kids so it was a bit stressful and I was slightly embarrassed at the end of the meal, mostly with my stressed behavior, but oh well. From there Jasey and big David headed to a proper football game and little David, Scott and John, bless their hearts entertained me and the kids by taking us to an indoor playground so the kids could let off some steam. I think that after that day each and everyone of them is seriously reconsidering ever having children. We headed back to David's flat and waited for Jasey and David then the boys all went out for their night. They did a bit of a pub crawl from what I understand and hit about 4 pubs stopping to get gyros or something on the way back.
Monday and Tuesday little David became our personal tour guide, it was wonderful having him join us. We took the kids to the Science Museum. There was a space travel are that they loved and all these weird old cars and an area with interactive displays and then downstairs there was also a play area. We left there and headed to one of my musts during the trip. A stop at Kings Cross station. We all know I'm a huge Harry Potter dork so why should I try to hide my love of the wizarding world when I am right there at the entrance to Platform 9 3/4. It didn't stop me five years ago when I tried to get into the Ministry of Magic or when I visited Hogwarts and Hogsmeade last year. Yes, a big dork am I. We hung out at David's place that night. Scott and Camilla joined us and we had a take away Curry feast.
Tuesday was another day that I was really excited about. We took a bus into the center of London took the Queens Jubilee path (I think it was the 25th) and then walked across Tower Bridge. AJ recognized it and was very excited as you can see in the picture. Then we went to the Tower of London! Oh I was so excited to see this. I could have spent the whole day here wandering around by myself. Everything about this place amazes me. I love the history of the place and the tradition that goes along with it. I didn't get to see everything within the walls of the tower due partially to time, partially to the kids and partially to the fact that some of the areas are private. People live in some parts. Just imagine! But I got to see the Crown Jewels, Traitors Gate, the Torture Chambers, Henry VIII armor, the stairs where the Princes of the Tower were found and the scaffold site on Tower green where three English queens were beheaded. I walked along part of the wall over looking the Thames, saw the Crows and plenty of Yeoman. I even got pictures of the kids as they stood in one of the Royal Guards boxes. We were there for a few hours and we saw a lot but I can't wait to go back with even more time to wander. We went back to David's that night and had take away Fish and Chips. I love English food.
Wednesday was our last full day before we had to head home on Thursday. David came and picked us up from little David's place and we headed back out to Windsor. We stopped to see Nan once again then went to walk around Windsor again and get some lunch. I had lost my scarf on the way back to David's flat the day before :( I was very sad, it was my favorite scarf and I'd had it for 10 years. Even though it's been 3 months I still hope that David will call and say that it turned up at his place and he'll mail it to me. Hey, a girl can dream. I broke off from Jasey, David and the kids and wandered around to find a new scarf, which I did, then I walked to a little candy shop and got some yummy English candies. I even found licorice wands! Again, such a Harry Potter dork. I also wandered into a few shops with the intent of buying myself a fascinator or a hat but couldn't bring myself to buy a novelty for that much money, the number was innocent enough but figure the conversion and whoa! I have no where to wear something like that anyway so it would be just a fun souvenir. Maybe next time. We stayed at David and Dawn's that night and were up early the next morning to load up and head to the airport. Here are my little jet setters waiting in line at Customs.
They did fantastic on the plane rides both ways. Going there was a bit easier since it was a night time flight and they were tired anyway. They each watched a movie and had a little bit of dinner but then slept most of the time. Up for breakfast not long before we landed and were occupied with another movie. On the way back though it was a day flight. They both still slept for part of it since we had gotten them up so early that morning. AJ did pretty good and was happy enough to watch movies on his own screen and walk the aisles a couple times when he needed to go to the bathroom. Ryan on the other hand, wan't cranky but she had a couple hours where she was antsy and wanted to walk. So I took her up and down then aisles and let he play on her seat and the floor in front of our seats. She just wasted to be able to jump and squat and move. We flew Virgin Atlantic which has a policy that you are not allowed to bring your own car seats on the plane. They have child seats that they attach for you with harnesses. We had one for her on the way there which I think worked out well with her sleeping most of the way but decided not to get one on the way back which worked out even better. We had to prop her up with a few airline pillows when she was sleeping but she liked sitting like a big girl.
Rosie and I have tentative plans for a Harry Potter extravaganza. I will fly over there and we will go to the HP Studio Tour and then we will fly back here and head to the Wizarding World of HP at Universal. Oh it sounds heavenly. Dork, I know.
We had a wonderful time and were very sad to leave. I have no clue when we will be able to make it back but of course I hope it is sooner than later. We miss you all, thank you for a lovely week!