Tue Jul 08 2014 13:51 Disney Day, Paris Style:
Today started with an early wake up call. We fully enjoyed two hours of magic morning in Disneyland Paris park, much of which we were practically the only people there. We rode twice in a row on Peter Pan, which is otherwise unheard of. We tried out Space Mountain Mission 2 which has cool planet effects (and a loop and corkscrews...) Indiana jones and other new/different rides. We went back to the hotel for an afternoon nap. We got lost in Alice's Curious Labyrinth. We made use of our rain gear, untouched from five days in London.
Now at the end of the day I am listening to the sound of rain coming through our open hotel window. Accompanied by Sienna's snores, the sound is a perfect ending to a busy fun Disney day.
Sun Jul 13 2014 21:01 The Simple Life:
I am not working this summer. I haven't had time to enjoy the break yet, since we've been travelling. But this week the kids have gymnastics camp for 6 hours, so I think it will hit me how much free time I have and how enjoyable to spend time with my baby!
Coming up: Baking, beach and the temple.
We actually have a lot going on this summer. I mean, the vacation already took up two weeks. Then gymnastics camp, then Hero Camp the next week. The last week of July we are planning to get Disneyland passes, plus finish up with Legoland and San Diego somewhere in there.
Then in August John's brother's family is visiting, then his mom. John has to travel two weeks that month as well.
So it's going to be plenty busy, but I still plan to have lots of time to enjoy the beach! After all, I don't have gymnastics camp.
Mon Jul 14 2014 13:21 I Should Have Seen This Coming:
This morning when I dropped the kids off at gymnastics camp, Maggie was identified as Dalton's sister. Which is not surprising to anyone who knows Dalton.
Mon Jul 14 2014 13:45 Back in the Kitchen:
On the menu today:
Peanut butter chocolate chip muffins (with my Maggie helper, another delicious early breakfast thanks to jetlag)
Peach cobbler from the last frozen peach cobbler filling
Crock pot refried beans
Tortillas (hopefully trying out my new wheat grinder since I used up all my store bought whole wheat in the pretzels)
I've missed being able to cook up food for my family the last couple of weeks. Coupled with my new found free time (no work, and the big kids at camp), a baking day seemed in order.
Plus, as long as I keep cooking, I don't have to clean the floor.
I've long said of myself that I like to cook, but I don't like having to cook. This leads me to take "days off" when I know John won't be home. I've been really lazy about making dinner for my family these last few months. Part of it is that I never know when John will be home for dinner, if at all. It always seems like on days I go through the effort of making a nice meal, the kids complain and want frozen food and John comes home late and already fed. But, here's to more real food coming out of my kitchen.
Wed Jul 16 2014 21:47 A Trip to Europe:
Well, I am apparently not going to do a full travelogue on our trip to Europe, but here is a summary. Links to photo blog posts. (ETA: This turned out much longer than I anticipated and I separated Rachel's Wedding and Paris.)
Flight there: Within minutes of boarding, Dalton had charmed multiple flight attendants into fulfilling his every whim. How many flight attendants does it take to turn on Frozen? At least two. The kids watched a movie, ate dinner, then got a decent night's sleep. Sienna was a great sleeper, she slept a solid 8 hours in the bassinet.
We had great weather in London. Hardly any rain for 5 days. It rained most of the time we were in Paris, and a drizzle our last day in London, but we got all five of London's summer days.
Monday night: Arrive, fish 'n' chips with Rachel and Brett
Tuesday: St. Paul's Cathedral. We hiked to the top with Leonard. Then we met Rachel and went on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, except we did no hopping off. We rode the bus for 4 hours, saw most of the city while the kids played and Sienna took a nap. That night I met some family members at an Italian restaurant for dinner.
Wednesday: Walked across Tower Bridge with Leonard, then around the Tower of London. A much shorter bridge walk than the last one we did with Leonard (Golden Gate). I think we can call this a fun tradition now that we walked at least three famous bridges.
Wednesday afternoon was our Harry Potter studio tour with Jill, Laura, Rachel and Rachel's friend Jenn. It was awesome. There were so many props and sets and costumes, as well as outdoor sets, creature exhibits. It was really neat to see, and the kids loved it, too! We got the kids pen wands for 10 pounds and they've enjoyed playing with them.
Thursday morning: We wanted to do the zoo, but we decided to let the kids sleep in, and there wasn't time. Instead we went to the London Science Museum, which had a lot of hands on stuff the kids enjoyed.
Thursday afternoon was the wedding rehearsal at Rachel's house. Then we went to pictures>The Crown Pub for dinner with the extended family and lots of friends. It was so fun to see many Whitney and Richardson relatives come all the way to London! I nursed Sienna to sleep in the pub, which struck me as odd, but keep reading; this was not the most awkward place I nursed her this trip.
Friday: We had planned to go to Warwick Castle, but I woke up feeling very unwell and Sienna was beyond grumpy. John and Leonard took the kids and Sienna and I stayed home to rest. My cousin Alyson had spent the night, so once Sienna and I were feeling rested (and less nauseous, bleh) the three of us went for a walk in Hyde Park. We rode the carousel, peeked at Kensington Palace, and saw the LDS church.
Saturday was Rachel and Brett's Wedding.
Sunday-Wednesday was in Paris.
Wednesday night we returned back to London and stayed at the Park Plaza hotel with a great view of the London Eye. The London Eye was our Thursday morning activity. It was really neat! The capsule felt so safe and secure, the kids enjoyed running around, and of course the view. Afterwards, we met Rachel and Brett for some breakfast before we headed to the airport. It was great to see them one last time.
The flight home wasn't quite as nice as the one out. I barely got an hour sleep, and Sienna was on me most of the flight. We counted it as a nap and went to bed when we got home. Still, no screaming was involved.
Wed Jul 16 2014 21:48 Disneyland Paris:
Sunday: We took the Eurostar to Paris and went to Walt Disney Studios Park. The best part of this day was getting a sneak peek of the new Ratatouille ride, which officially opened the day after we left. We also popped into Disneyland Paris, but Sienna was so done by this point, I had to just take her back to the hotel. We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge, with a nice Western America theme... for reals, we stayed in the Yellowstone Lodge.
Monday was our Paris tour. We stopped at the Louvre where we spent most of our time looking for a crepe stand. Then we went on a Seine river boat tour, and up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower. We were kind of bored on the river boat tour, having just seen lots of old buildings in London. This is just not our thing, especially with kids. We would have preferred walking along the river, perhaps with a picnic, but it just wasn't feasible. John took the kids to the hotel pool after the tour. They LOVED it, with a water slide and a giant yoga mat thing they could walk on the water with.
It was fun to go on the Eiffel tower with the kids. The queue for the lift back down was long, so we walked down all the stairs! Sienna even walked most of the stairs down, because she is a trooper like that. Then, we got more crepes, and some nice pictures.
Tuesday we went to Disneyland Paris to do it justice. We took advantage of 2 hours of Magic Morning. The first thing we did was go on Peter Pan. Twice in a row. With no one else anywhere nearby. Sienna cried. We did most of Fantasyland, then took turns on Space Mountain Mission 2. When the park officially opened at 10, it started raining, but we had come prepared. We took turns on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and went on the Haunted Manor ride. We explored Adventure Isle and went on Pirates. Had Mexican food (?) for lunch. Then we went back to the hotel for a nap.
We made it back to the park for the parade, and to finish up Fantasyland. Small world was fun, and we all really liked Alice's Curious Labyrinth.
Wednesday we went back to Walt Disney Studios, but we found there wasn't much to do since we didn't want to wait in line for adult coasters. We saw a couple shows, then left for lunch and more Disneyland Paris. We rode the train around, then did it's a small world and the girls rode the carousel one last time, while the boys did Pirates. We met at the stroller which had been sitting in the rain that whole time. Oops.
Then it was the train back to London for bed!
Wed Jul 16 2014 21:49 Rachel's Wedding:
Saturday: Wedding Day! Rachel and Brett's wedding was beautiful and I think just how she wanted it to be. Maggie and I went over to start getting ready. Maggie spent most of the time looking for Tonks. We had our hair done, the boys arrived with the littlies, and we all got dressed in our fancies. Then, we walked to the bus stop and took the bus to the Hackney Town Hall. A photographer was there documenting the entire thing. The kids' were darling and Sienna only slightly misbehaved during the ceremony (crying out when the registrar asked for objections, scooting over to me in the bridesmaid line and hoping no one would notice). Rachel asked Aunt Pat to be her witness, which I thought was wonderful.
We took pictures outside, there was a cocktail reception, then a buffet dinner. The cocktail hour seemed like a good time to put Sienna down for a nap. Brett's father was resting in the office reserved for the bridal party, so I continued through the next door into the formal council room, and excellent place to nurse a baby.
Alyson held Sienna for an hour while I ate dinner (gumbo!). The kids sat with Pat and Shannon, which was perfect. Everyone had a good time that way! My kids are hilarious. Brett's dad gave an awesome speech. I gave a speech as well, which everyone said was good and made them tear up because, you know, us poor orphans. It wasn't that great, but it was something.
After dinner there was cupcakes and dancing. Maggie was so excited to learn there was dancing at the wedding, and she made great use of it. Hopefully people will send me videos I can share; she was awesome. John took the little ones home early - or tried to. He got lost in scary London, Sienna with no shoes, poor tired kids. He barely made it home before Leonard, Maggie and I.
I got lots of compliments on the kids wedding clothes which I made (Maggie Dalton Sienna). I also made my bridesmaid dress, and a dress for Rachel from the same pattern, which she wore to the friends and family dinner. I'm really pleased with how everything turned out, which is how I imagine Rachel feels about her whole lovely wedding. She was a beautiful bride and I think everything was just what she wanted.
Thu Jul 17 2014 19:19 Grown Up Maggie-isms:
Can you stop talking? I'm busy reading.
And while I was playing the piano: I don't mind if you make a mistake, just keep playing.
Sat Jul 19 2014 22:09 What I Like About Not Working:
When Sienna gets her shoes and says "walk?" And I say "yes."
Tonight I sat down at the computer to upload our pictures and work on my personal photo blog. And I lost track of time. It was so wonderful to be doing something enjoyable and engrossing like that, just for me. Especially since my time on the computer lately has been minimal. I still need to wean a bit more off my phone, but I'm glad the computer time suck is slowing down for summer.
Sat Jul 26 2014 21:14 Princess Sienna:
When Sienna carried her bag of blocks around the house, I thought she wanted to play blocks (silly mommy). Turns out, she wanted the ONE princess toy we have in the house - Ariel Megabloks. I think it's time to get this girl some princess toys. She yells "let it go!" at anything that resembles a castle (temples, Disney movie credits, castles...), anything that resembles snow (fake Frozen snow, basically), and Ariel or Rapunzel (the only other princesses she recognizes, for some reason). We've been patiently waiting Frozen stuff to come down in price, and also the 20% merchandise discount we get at Disneyland. Princess toys, coming soon.
Sat Jul 26 2014 21:21 Rain Shower:
Dalton hates getting his hair cut, mostly because he hates the shower and I always make him shower afterwards. Since he liked the "rain shower" at our flat in London, today I just switched our shower head to "rain shower" mode for him and all was well. And if you are 3'6", that would be the same mode everyone else calls "shower." I'm not sure if that's mean mom or genius, but it worked, so no harm done.
Sat Jul 26 2014 21:50 Maggie Grows Up:
Miss Margaret is at the cusp of becoming helpful and responsible. I've noticed more and more lately that she is capable to doing things like watching Sienna for a split-second. Sometimes she is more helpful than whiny. And she is over the fact that she is too big for the stroller and doesn't complain about how tired she is.
She is still our clueless, innocent little girl, but she sure is growing up fast.
Thu Jul 31 2014 13:20 In Summer:
This is what summer's all about. John took the morning off work and we went to DCA to celebrate our anniversary. We got to take Sienna on Ariel's Undersea Adventure ("Lala" is her favorite princess at the moment).
Sienna was napping by 12:30 and John left for work shortly after. Maggie is reading Imogen the Ice Dance Fairy and Dalton is downstairs playing with his race track. I did the laundry in peace and now for some online swimsuit shopping. Ahhh, summer!
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