Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gifts from Auntie

Auntie Tylee & Pierre sent the kiddos a fun little package full of surprises. The kids were SO excited to get their new treasures.

Bladen got an adorable tiger hat which he LOVES to take on & off himself.


And the girls each got a pretty bracelet & some whistles & frisbees.




Thank you Auntie Tylee & Pierre for the wonderful gifts! We love & miss you!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The White Cliffs of Dover & Dover Castle



After Windsor Castle, we hopped back in the van & drove out to Dover to the port. We were still quite early, so we took a road up to the top of the white cliffs by the Dover Castle. It was a beautiful day so we made a picnic lunch & enjoyed ourselves while overlooking the English Channel. The kids found some snails & enjoyed playing with them for a little bit.


And then we went back & got on the ferry. The water was very busy that day & I got really sea sick this time around. I was happy to be on solid ground again. But the cliffs were beautiful as we were pulling out of port. What a perfect end to a wonderful 10 day trip. Lots of memories were made & we'll never forget it! WE LOVE ENGLAND!!


Windsor Castle


Sunday morning, we woke up early & said our sad farewells to my Mom & Dad. They took off for the airport & we took off via van. We had a little time before we had to get to the ferry, so we backtracked a little bit & visited Windsor Castle. The Queen was actually staying there at the time, so we couldn't go inside (or even walk around). But Trek hopped out & grabbed a few pictures to show we actually went there. It was MASSIVE!! I can't imagine living in something that huge. It was fun just to see it.

Parliament at Night



After Les Miserables was over, Trek & I hopped on the tube again & headed towards Parliament & Big Ben. We wanted to see it one last time before we left the following day. We got off the tube & walked for what seemed like FOREVER in the rain, but we found it & we were glad we did. It was SO beautiful at night. We tried SO hard take pictures, but they just don't do it justice. To see the landscape of London at night was just gorgeous!

After oohing & ahhhing for a few minutes, we walked all the way back to the tube & went home. Everybody was asleep, so we took the 2 little ones up to our room & let the big girls sleep one last night with their Mimi & Baba!

Les Miserables 7th ROW!!!


Les Miserables was the highlight of my trip. I have #1: never been to a broadway show (other than Wicked earlier that day) & #2: never seen Les Miserables. I know every word to every song, but I've never seen the actual play in person!! I was so excited that I got tickets on the 7th row! We were SO close that we could see up the actor's noses! It was AWESOME!


It was beautiful. I cried throughout because it's such an emotional play. It totally tugs at your heartstrings. And the thing that made it the best was that I got to see it with Trek. It's his favorite play of all time too! I loved being able to sit next to him & enjoy it with him. I love you Babe! Thank you for the best night of my life!


Picadilly Circus



Once they were off safely, Trek & I hopped on the tube & rode it to Picadilly Circus! Picadilly Circus is similar to Times Square in New York. There's lots of flashing lights & ads everywhere. Tons of people visited the many shops & theaters that lined the streets. It was kind of an exciting place to be at night. We stopped by a Cinnabon & had cinnamon rolls for dinner (I know. . .I've had a very nutritious day haven't I?), then we walked to the Queen's theater to get our tickets to Les Miserables. We still had about 30 minutes before they'd let us into the theater so we decided to call Dad to see if Mom & the girls made it home safely.

The red phone booths in London are very cool from the outside, but they are disgusting inside. They are dirty, full of porn, & they smell like. . . yeah. . . seriously. . . they smell like somebody peed in them (which wouldn't surprise me if someone did). And it didn't help that ALL the coin slots were jammed. We tried 3 different phone booths on three different streets & NONE of them would take coins. So we used our debit card & it worked. Everybody was back safe & sound & all was well. Then we walked over to Starbucks & got some carmel hot chocolate to take into the play.

Wicked!


Once again, we woke up bright & early & ate another wonderful breakfast at our bed & breakfast. This time I opted for the croissant with ham & cheese. SO GOOD!! We hopped into the cars & drove the 3 hours to London. Our hotel for our last day was right in the center of London! My poor dad was TERRIFIED of driving in the city on the "wrong" side of the road. Trek wasn't too panicked (nothing could be worse that Brussels, Belgium in his eyes). It actually turned out to be a lot easier than most European cities we've driven in. Trek & Dad stayed together (dad was following us) pretty well with all the city traffic. We got honked at several times, but nobody got hurt & we arrived safely at our hotel.

We immediately checked in & put poor, sick little Taya & Bladen in one of the rooms with Baba. Poor Taya was screaming with ear pain. Thank heavens we'd be home tomorrow so we could get her some medicine. The tylenol & ibprofen only helped for so long. Dad stayed with the younger two while Trek, Mom, Cadence, Lorien, & I walked to the nearest subway station. Trek just walked us there to make sure we knew which direction to walk when we got back & then he waved good-bye as we got on our train to the theater. Trek went back to help dad out with the younger kiddos.

Girls Day Out!! We got off the tube & stopped at a cute little bakery & ate croissants & danishes for lunch. Then we walked to the Apollo Victoria Theater to see Wicked!



The show was 3 hours long & was just AWESOME!! I think Lorien might have been a little young for it, but she still had a blast. The dragon & the wizard of Oz scared her to death. But she LOVED the green witch when she flew across the stage! Cadence was extremely observant of the story & the characters & I really enjoyed the experience with her.


I'm SO happy I had the opportunity to have a mommy daughter date alone with Cadence & Lorien. I hope they had as much fun with me as I did with them!


Circus



After my Jane Austen tour, we gathered up the kiddos & walked up Gay Street to Jane Austen's actual house. She lived at #25 Gay Street in Bath. Now it's a dental clinic, but I still took a picture in front of it. Just passed Jane Austen's house is the Bath Circus. No, it's not a circus with lions & tigers & bears, Oh my! It's called the circus because it's apartment buildings (built in the mid 1700's) that complete a full circle. They were actually quite beautiful. It's rare that you see such old buildings in such good condition. Having them form a complete circle was really fun to look at too. It was architectural innovation for that time period. I'm glad we took the time to walk up there to see it.




It was raining quite hard by the time we got to the circus, so the girls were having a blast singing & dancing with their umbrellas. Cadence was singing: "I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling!" Silly girl.



After playing on the grass in the center of the circus, we got back in our cars & headed home. Taya was still really sick & it was cold outside so I didn't want to make it any worse. When we got home, we stripped the kids out of their wet clothes & let them take a bath in the jacuzzi tub. Taya was SO funny! She was screaming in delight when the bubbles started shooting out of the little drains. They spent at least an hour in there. I was laughing SO hard at them!! We finished the night by bringing in some Chinese food. Then it was off to bed EARLY!! Yeah! I love being able to go to bed early.

Jane Austen Tour


After lunch, Dad & Trek were kind enough to take the kids to Queen Square (there's a park there) while Mom & I did the indoor Jane Austen Tour. I was SO excited to learn more about my favorite author. All over the museum they had dummies dressed up in the clothes used for some of the Jane Austen movies. I've seen them all, so that was really cool for me.



We watched a movie about Bath & how Jane came to live there with her family. Then they took us into another room & told us Jane's life story. I learned SO much about her family. Knowing her books inside & out, I can see how much her family inspired her writing. Several of her characters were spitting images of her brothers & sister.



It was also interesting to hear that she wrote her first 3 novels while she lived in Bath. Her first & last novels took place in Bath & through the plot & characters you can see how her views of life there had matured & changed over the years. It's time to pull her books out again & read them. I'm SO excited!

On our way out, there was a GIANT spider on the sign. It scared me to death!!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Jane Austen Tea Rooms


After visiting Stonehenge, we hopped back in the van & headed back to Bath to finish seeing everything there was to see there. Today was MY day. I was SO excited to visit the Jane Austen Center to learn all about my favorite author! It was lunchtime so we were able to eat lunch in the Jane Austen Tea Rooms. Can you say SO MUCH FUN??? The waitresses were all dressed up in period clothing resembling the time of Jane Austen & they served us all sorts of yummy tea room food.



Since we don't drink tea, we all got a cup of Belgian hot chocolate with extra whipped cream & chocolate pieces. All 4 kids LOVED it. . . especially Bladen. Mimi spoiled him rotten with her hot cocoa.




Poor little Taya was sick again. She had a really high fever & just wanted to be held all day long. We felt so sorry for her. During lunch she told me that her ear hurt. Poor little girl had a double ear infection & there was absolutely NOTHING we could do about it. We gave her lots of extra loving all that day (& lots of tylenol & motrin to keep the fever down).




The food was great too. We all got to taste English "crumpets" (aka REAL English Muffins) to dip in our hot cocoa, & then we eat got a different tea sandwich. I got a caramelized onion & cheese sandwich. Everybody else thought I was disgusting for choosing that, but it was SO GOOD! I wanted to experience something different than a typical ham & cheese. I'm SO glad I did.


Stonehenge


We woke up bright & early & had a wonderful hot breakfast at our little hotel. I had ham, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes, beans, fried tomatoes, & orange juice. All that was included with the hotel. It was DELICIOUS!

Then we took off for Stonehenge. We couldn't possibly come to England & NOT see one of the 7 wonders of the world. Stonehenge is only about an hour from Bath, so it was perfect! It was raining when we arrived. That was the first real rain we had experienced so far for the entire trip. I consider ourselves VERY lucky that we had so many days of sunshine. Taya was kind of mad at the rain so she hid under her umbrella most of the morning.



Stonehenge was amazing! It was actually a lot smaller than I thought I would be, but it was interesting to see. It was beautiful in it's own "ancient" way. I really truly wonder why it was built (& WHEN it was built). . . & WHO built it. Lots of questions! I'm so glad we had the opportunity to go though. It was great!