Saturday, December 12, 2009

A visit to Shakespeare

We went with daddy on a business trip to Stratford Upon Avon. While daddy was busy talking with his clients, Emma and mommy walked around Stratford. We went and had lunch by the water. We feed the famous swans, they really like Emma (a little too much). We even found a butterfly farm.

When Adam was finally done with his meeting, we hung out together. We walked to Trinity Church and saw the tomb of William Shakespeare. We walked along the Avon and saw all the renovations happeing to the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company). They have pretty much gutted that how theater complex. We started our hike back to the train station walking through the town, passing Shakespeare's birthplace and other great sights.

It was a busy, but great day out of London.

Our Busiest Visitors




We had some great visitors come for a visit at the beginning of October. Jill and Mike came to London to celebrate their 1st anniversary. It was great to have them and Emma warmed up to Mike very quickly.

On their first day here we dragged them, jet lagged and all, to the French Circus. A very tiny circus but Emma had a blast eating lots of junk food.

They were the busiest visitors we have had so far. I think they were sightseeing every single day they were here, from visiting historical places to riding high speed boats through the Thames. Emma and I had a chance to go with them on the London Duck Tour. I had to hold on tight to her, see was having so much fun; she would have jumped out of the boat into the Thames.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Versailles


Versailles, the most popular French Palace, was fantastic. This place was huge and took pretty much a day to go through. The inside was much like any other palace we have been in before but the gardens where wonderful. The grounds of Versailles are massive and no way were we ever going to walk them all, but you can get a taste from the pictures. Too bad we were late for the fountains, they have turned them all off now that it is fall. But I hear the fountains are fantastic lit up at night.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Paris Trip


Well we finally made it to Paris. We took the Euro-rail from London straight to Paris, and with in 2 hours we were there. On our first day we decided to explore Versailles, which was only a short 30 minute metro ride there. This palace was remarkable, unfortunately we missed the fountains. They only run them during the summer times. However the gardens, HUGE, were beautiful. On our way back into Paris we decided to do Paris a night and went to see the Eiffel Tower, which now Emma pronouns it like "awful tower". After a full day of sight-seeing we sorely found our way back to our hotel for some sleep. The next morning was jam packed it sight to see. First thing was the Eiffel Tower, to go up to the top. Took the elevator up, but walked down. Mommy was the lucky one to backpack Emma on the way down. Next we went over to Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle, both so beautiful. In the evening we strolled down Champs-Elysees and found a place for dinner. Next next day we tackled the Louvre, before getting a train back home. We could have spent another day at the Louvre, maybe another trip.

The Solo Visitor


Maureen came to visit us at the end of September. Since she was our solo visitor, Emma and I keep her company while she got to see London. We took the hop on hop off bus and were able to see most of London is a short time. We covered Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guards, Royal Mews, & the Queens Gallery (and I am sure I am missing something). That is impressive for just 4 days. Maureen was so sweet to also take us out to the theater while she was here. It was good that we did all that sight-seeing quickly, because for the weekend we all headed to Paris. That will be the next blog.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mimi & Popi's Visit


We had some great visitors one early morning, Mimi and Popi! Emma and Mommy got to spend some quality time with them, however Daddy had his big convention happening, so he work most of the week. We headed off to Salisbury one day on the train to visit the Cathedral. From there we hoped on a bus to Stonehenge. It was a great afternoon. We were able to drag daddy with us on Saturday for a day out in Brighton. Definitely too cold for swimming but we had a relaxing trip. We also explored Greenwich for a half day. Mimi and Popi brought over new books, Knuffle Bunny. Definitely our favorite lately. And of course they where the popular ones at story time. Just wondering who was going to fall asleep first.

Emma's Best Friend Visit


The 1st week in September we had our friends from Orlando come for a visit. This was a special visit because Evan was coming. Evan is 2 months older than Emma. These to adored each other, they shared toys and bath time. They would chase each other and exhaust each other. It was great, not to mention we loved hanging out with Evan's parents. We went to Hampton Court and made it through the maze with a little spy help from the kids. We took Evan to Diana's Memorial playgournd and Emma got to show him all her favorite spots. Of course we took the kids to the London Zoo, which is becoming a hot spot with Emma. And lucky for Beth, Jamie and Evan the Wimbledon Carnival was in town. The kids rode the train around, shared the spinning teacups and went for a bouncing adventure (which they didn't want to leave). We were very sad to see them leave. I think Emma called out Evan's name every day, for a week after they left. I still get the occasional, "Evy, where's Evy".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

High Tea

Emma went to her first High Tea with Grandma Peggy and Aunt Kit Kit. We all got dressed up and traveled in to central London. We went to a nice quaint hotel and were the only ones there. Emma was able to explore and try out all the sofas in the lounge. We enjoyed our tea and scones, while watching Emma licked off all the icing from the deserts and eat all the blackberries. She is not to go a sharing blackberries. It was a lovely girls day out, that ended with a little shopping at Harrods.

Amsterdam Trip


Emma and Mommy tagged along with Daddy on a business trip to Amsterdam. We bought tickets for the hop on hop off canal boat. Which is the only way any tourist should ever visit around Amsterdam. It was great, Emma and I toured around Amsterdam on all the Canals and hopped off when ever we wanted to. We went to the Van Gogh Museum together. She was excellent in the museum. We saw the NEMO science museum and the Ann Frank House. While on the canal we were able to see great house boats, the opera house and Amsterdam's oldest bridge. I am so glad we went by canal, because Amsterdam is filled with bicyclist and we would have most definitely gotten run over. On our second day Emma and I went to the Amsterdam Zoo and unfortunately got rained on. Before getting our train to Rotterdam to meet daddy we went to the flower market to make our final purchases. We got our-self's on a train to Rotterdam where we meet up with Daddy, however with only a few hours before our flight we found a great playground to spend the rest of the day at.

First Harvest



Well a couple weeks ago we pick our first veggies from the garden. And since then we have had non stop tomatoes. Let me just say we have found many new ways to use tomatoes in our meals.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Day That Never Ended


Today we all went on a bus tour for the entire day. We fisrt had to get up very early to meet the bus, then we were off to one of 3 sites. We first were off to Windsor Castle. We wondered around the grounds and inside. The interesting thing was that the castle is still in use, however the not on the day we were visiting. Then we got back on the bus to venture off to Bath. Once in Bath we went to the roman bath ruins. Bath was a great place to visit but wow was it crowded. It was fun to roam around the ruins. After this visit we did have to get some ice cream. Then as the day was ending we finally stop off at Stonehenge. A great site, very crowded and you are not allowed to walk through the stones any more. But it was nice to run around on the grass and relax off the bus for once on this busy day.

Another Addition to the Guest List


On a early Thursday morning we had another addition to bring to welcome to London Aunt Christine came for a visit. Well as Emma calls here, Kit Kit. Sorry Christine your name has changed, forever. From the moment she arrived we did not let her slow down and we all went to the London Zoo. This zoo was busier than the Bronx Zoo and all the animals were awake and out of their cages. However the zoo is too much for my Emma and she fell asleep half way through the visit.

Greenwich Mean Time



Today we went to Greenwich and explored the world time zones. It rain so we did not take the boat to Greenwich but it was a quick train ride from London. The park in beautiful and Emma, like always chased the birds around. Then we walked to the museum and the Prime Meridian Line. That was a bit of a hike up a steep hill. Emma enjoyed running back and forth from the Western Hemisphere to the Eastern.

Brighton Beach


Yes there is a beach in England. Though it is not a sand beach, pebbles, however you can swim if you are brave enough to get in the cold water. We took the one hour train ride to Brighton Beach with Grandma and Grandpa. We walked around the little bohemian town and relax at the beach while Emma and Daddy looked for sea glass. Emma even ventured into the water, feet only of course. Grandpa and Emma went looking for a very special pinwheel and found the carousel also. After finishing our day with a bit of ice cream, we got back on the train to London.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our First Visitors



Well our first visitor have come and gone. Emma was very excited to see Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Gary very early one morning. And from then on was attached to Grandpa's hip for the entire visit. We had a fantastic time we visited St Paul's and Parliament. Even took the Parliament tour inside. We had a very casual visit with Grandma and Grandpa, with one day at a new site and the next recovering from our adventures. We did some much that I didn't get a chance to blog while they where here. So enjoy all the new blogs that will be posted in one day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Toddler Clothes Pin Holder


Ok, so i was a little bored and it was raining out side and we had hung the clothes inside the house. I could not resist, but she thought it was a fun game.

Daddy Daugher Bonding

Thought you all would like to see some daddy- daughter bonding time!


video

Another Day Another Playground


Today we tired out the playground behind the New Malden Center, which is where Emma goes to Creche' (Day Care). It was the least favorite of all the playground we have been too, but it was also the smallest. And I could totally tell that Emma was uninterested 10 minutes into our arrive when all she wanted to do was snack. So I watched her carry around a bag of snacks and roam the playground. But what was fascinating was when she found her shadow and became fully aware of it. Watch the video.
video

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not Just Any Playground


This past Saturday we went to another playground, and this was not just any playground. We went to Diana's Memorial Playground in the grounds of Kensington Garden in Hyde Park. This playground was amazing, clean and very busy. But now I know why. There is so many things to do. There is an area with swings and an area with little log cabins. Then there is a gaint sand pit with a Pirate Ship in the middle, that was the popular place to be. There was also a treetop slide area. The playgrounds design was based on Peter Pan. We like the musical section in the back, with chimes to dance on and bells to press. Emma was so exhausted after that she fell asleep immediately after leaving, once we put her in the stroller.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Windward Farm Granola Ver2.0



Today I made the famous Windward Farm Granola. However I think I might have to change the name slightly, since some of the ingredients were not used. So I am going to call it Windward Farm Granola Ver2.0, UK style. And now the house smells so nice, like I have been baking for the entire day. Well I guess I have been baking for the past 2.5 hours. Wow does it take a long time! But so worth it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crafter-noon


The term "crafter-noon" was first used by the Richardson-Greenberg group. Well Emma and I had a "crafter-morning". We had some fun making some great art projects. Just a little something to help us recover from the flu.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tower of London & Tower Bridge

This past weekend we took an outing to the Thames to visit the Tower of London, on the way we stopped off to see the Tower Bridge. Something to note, the Tower Bridge is not the bridge the song was written after; "London Bridges falling down..." That is London Bridge which is just west of the Tower Bridge and is the oldest bridge in London. Well onward to the Tower of London. The Tower of London is the original Palace for Kings and Queens to live in before Buckingham Palace was built. It has 20 towers in all, but the famous tower is the White Tower. All the towers were named after someone or something that happened in them. We followed on one of the Yeoman Warders tours of the Tower. That was great and any one that visits the tower should take a tour. We saw the famous ravens and saw the Crown Jewels. An interesting fact that we learned from the Warder was that the traitors were not beheaded inside the tower (well only 2 of King Henry the 8th Wife's), they were taking just a few blocks north of the tower for their beheading. Then their heads were placed on stakes and placed on the London Bridge for all those entering London to see.

We also came on a special day, the day that one of Britain's 4 star generals was retiring and they were having a public ceremony at the tower. One of the US ships was there with a present to the general. Emma really enjoyed the bag pipes.

To end this very busy day we went to Borrows Market, a fantastic farmers market with everything imaginable. Guess next time we will have to bring more cash.

Tower of London & Tower Bridge

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Day Another PlayGround




Emma and I tried out another playground, Colliers Wood Recreation Ground. It was about a 45 minute walk from the house, how do we know we walked it. Thank goodness we received our shipment from the states with the good comfy stroller. Emma and i had a nice walk, about 2.5 miles there. It was a nice park, however the playground was a little too advanced for Emma, not to say that it hindered her from climbing up and getting to the slide. Not my favorite. In the end all she really wanted to do was take all the bark and put it on the slide.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Get Well Grammy


Wishing my mom a "big get well" and Emma made you a picture (with a little of mommy's help). Glad your home.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blog Face Lift

Hello to all that read our blog. I gave it a little face lift because it is not just a blog for our London Adventure, it is much more. Enjoy and keep reading.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Photogenic Daughter


My very photogenic daughter was taken for some pictures by myself and her Grandmother Peggy several weeks ago for her 18 month birthday. She had such a blast and ran around like a crazy child. But then the 2 guys that were taking her photos did not help either, they were running and playing with her the entire time. She probably thought it was a big playdate. It also was helpful that there was no one else, so we could let her run around like that. Here is a slide show of all the pics, let me know if you like one in particular so i can send it your way.

Goodbye Barcelona

Well the day would come when we would have to leave Barcelona, and here it is. But we did not leave with out spending some time at the beach and finishing up with some biking. We even found an awesome playground. We had a blast, everyone should try and visit Barcelona.

Barcelona Bike Tour

Day Four in Barcelona, we decided to be adventurous, so we rented bikes and road through town. We started in Parc Ciutadella. This park is very beautiful and had a zoo inside. We could not pass up a chance to go to the zoo. We parked our bikes and took a stroll through the zoo. After the zoo we jumped back on our bikes and headed back into the Gothic Quarter, where we spent the end of our day strolling through the Picasso Museum. It was great, Emma got a little antsy but she did great for an 18month old in a museum. That evening we decided to try a traditional Spanish dish called paella. Emma loved it.

Barcelona Day Three

Ok, by now all three of us are very tired, and have done so much sight seeing. This third day we relaxed a little and had a wonderful start to the day at the beach. Emma had a great time, getting covered in sand by daddy. The water was so nice, all of us went for a swim together. As the sun started to get ferociously hot by mid day we got ourselves cleaned up and headed out for lunch. Today we wanted to talk a stroll down La Ramblas. This is the famous street where you can stroll and watch street performers, see animals for sale, flower vendors and much more. This street also has many of the popular shops (smell that nice Spanish leather). We found a great sandwich shop called Vienna Cafe. It got a high review from Mark Bittman from the New York Times, so we thought we would try it out. Our first side track off La Ramblas was to a great out side market called Mercat La Boqueria, we grabbed some fruit and smoothies for snacks. Our second and longer side track was to the oldest Cathedral in Barcelona, Barcelona Cathedral. This cathedral is located in the Gothic Quarter, made up of Gothic & Roman architecture. If you visit Barcelona, the Gothic quarter is a must see. We ended our day back around the piers for a nice late dinner at the hotel.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gaudi Sights

Day two in Barcelona...we went on a Gaudi Adventure. If you have never heard of him, Antonio Gaudi is a famous architect born in Spain and lived most of his life in Barcelona.

"Gaudi's work is admired by architects around the World as being one of the most unique and distinctive architectural styles. His work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona Architecture and you will see Gaudi's work all over the city. Gaudi's work was greatly influenced by forms of nature and this is reflected by the use of curved construction stones, twisted iron sculptures, organic-like forms, and adorning his buildings in colored tiles arranged in mosaic patterns."

First we visited Sagrada Familia, (what is considered the 8th wonder of the world). This church was designed by Guadi but never completed. It was only partially completed upon Gaudi's death in 1926. They estimate that it will be complete in 2030. It is quite an experience to walk through that church. It is a beautiful site even under construction. As we strolled around the inside and outside we took it all in. Then we had a chance to go up into the spires and take a look out over the city. WOW! Adam had Emma on his back as we descended the spiral staircase. Not for the faint of heart.

Next on our Gaudi Sites was La Pedrera (the Stone Quarry), is one of the most emblematic of Gaudi's work. Every thing about this building screams Gaudi and it is a beautiful site to see.

Finally after a lot of walking we ventured to Parc Guell, Gaudi's monumental modernist park. This was a wonderful view and the nice shady areas were great to cool off from the fierce sun. We all enjoyed this park a lot, Emma chased after birds and Adam and I could get our fill of history and architecture. However let me tell you, the adventure to get up to the park was a whole separate experience. We went up these very steep hills to get to the top of the park, some even had escalators to help people get up the hill that is how steep they were. Think San Francisco and double that. THIGHS of STEEL!


Barcelona Vacation




I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. Well Adam, Emma and I had a fantastic time. We took our summer vacation and went to Barcelona. Only an hour and half flight from London and we arrived in beautiful Barcelona. We stayed in a wonderful hotel on the beach. On our first day there we jumped right in to sight seeing and got ourselves over to the popular Barcelona Aquarium. This aquarium is best known for is long moving walk through the shark tanks. While Emma loved the aquarium, like any other aquarium she has been to, I don't know if I would recommend it to any one traveling to Barcelona without kids. After grabbing lunch we hopped on the cable car from the pier to the very famous Montjuic (Jewish Mountain). Named after an important Jewish cemetery that existed there in the Middle Ages. Most people remember this mountain from the Olympic Games held in Barcelona in 1992. We hiked around the mountain, got to see the Olympic summing pool, and finished up with a tour around the Castell de Montjuic. Emma was able to run around, and Adam and I enjoyed dazzling views and gardens. Finishing up at the castle we took a Gondola ride back down the mountain. As night fell, we took a stroll to Font Magica (Magic Fountain). The best way to describe this is think of the Bellagio Water display, that is what this is, but more of a big fountain doing a choreographed dance to Spanish music. It was also designed before the Bellagio, created for the International Exhibition in 1929. That was a great ending to our busy first day in Barcelona.



All the pictures will be on the website.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Veggies





Here are our first veggies of the season. I am growing strawberries and tomatoes in the big pots, which we have eaten our first ripe strawberry. I think Emma was a little confused why we were splitting in 3 ways a small strawberry, but we all wanted a little taste. My little seedling are growing fast and will be transferred over to a Susan Richardson designed "grow pool" (pictures to come soon). We have zucchini, carrots, onions, scallions, and more tomatoes.