Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's a Small World...

Yes, we finally caved, and went to Disneyland Paris. We were supposed to go in early April but Owen had his scalding incident and we had to postpone for the obvious reasons. Margot was a good sport about it (since we had been counting down the days for months) and finally, three weeks later, we boarded the EuroStar on our way to kiddie paradise.

I have to say I went with some skepticism, but both kids were ecstatic from the moment we arrived until the moment we left, 2.5 days later. Andy likened it to Vegas, a fun place to visit, but if you stay more than 36 hours, you start to freak out a little bit. Margot asked if we could move there.

Here are some pics.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Many Faces of Owen

Owen loves dress-up. We finally had to get him some boy dress-up items because - although he's makes a striking Snow White, and there's nothing wrong with that - Margot was getting annoyed that he was always in the best princess outfits.

Peter Pan

Snow White

The Man of Steel

Pillaging Pirate

Please note that all costumes are accessorized with some sort of weapon...even Snow White.

Crisps, Chips, Whatever...

So...they have a thing for funny-flavoured chips here in the UK. Micky is our designated taste tester.

Walker's Crisps recently held a contest to "Do us a Flavour" and come up with a new crisp taste sensation. Out of 1.2 million entries, the finalists were

Cajun Squirrel
Builder's Breakfast
Chili & Chocolate
Onion Bhaji
Crispy Duck & Hoisin
Fish & Chips

The winner was Builder's Breakfast: a chip flavoured with sausage, eggs, bacon and ... wait for it....beans.

As a Kerby, I appreciate this commitment to the art of the crisp. However, I remain a stalwart Nacho Cheese Dorito girl.

P.S.: Before you criticise my use of "our" for flavour and "ise" for criticise, note it's a hold-over from writing all my papers in UK English. I assure you it will be out of my system in no time at all.

Like White on Rice...

So, Janet and Micky came to visit and enjoy London. I was so busy with exams that I could barely acknowledge them. Margot & Owen, however, were ecstatic to have visitors.

You know how cats are strangely attracted to those people who have the most disdain for them? That's exactly how the kids were with Mick. The more ambivalent and non-communicative he was with them, the more obsessed with him they became.

Check out these looks of adoration:

30 Days and Counting

OK, so the blog didn't go so well this year. I suppose that's a good sign. It implies we're so engrossed in our lives and "going native" that we don't need to make wry observations about the differences between life "here" and "there" anymore (which is "here" and which is "there" is anyone's guess at this point).

We're both sad and excited to report that we're moving back to the States as of July 1 - that's 30 days. Yikes.

After a fabulous time last summer at Leete's, we were a little ambivalent about coming back to London. Once here, though, we jumped back in to our regular lives. Margot started full-time nursery and then reception at the fabulous local state school. Owen turned two with full gusto, teetering between extreme joy and diva-like tantrums at a whim. I made a rather spontaneous decision to enter a Master's degree program at City University, grossly underestimating the time commitment, the rather dodgy state of my cognitive abilities and the stress of coursework and exams. Andy came through the banking debacles bloodied and bruised, and is hanging on like a true masochist. So, it's been a busy year but a good one overall (maybe except for Andy).

For our last bittersweet 30 days, we'll try to post lots of little thoughts, photos and musings as we wind down our fabulous London adventure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yoo-hoo, Pool Boy

Margot had a 3.5-week break between Spring and Summer term. Of course, I only realized several weeks earlier that we're on a trimester system and not semesters. Oops.

Anyway, we decided to find some sunshine for a few days. The criteria for our holiday: sunshine, four hours or less via non-stop flight. Friends were jetting off to Dubai, Mauritius, Malaysia and the USA (I know, it's a pretentious life). We found Cyprus.

We packed our sunscreen, swim costumes (I can't call them that) and summer clothes and we were off. We booked a cheap flight using EasyJet. We had some problems at check-in because they couldn't figure out if Owen was a baby or not. This point was moot as we had purchased him a seat (and brought his car seat) but they haggled about this for far too long. Someone even passed out in the queue behind us.

By the time we made it to the gate, it was a mess. EasyJet has first-come, first-served seating. We were the last ones on the plane and there were only single seats left scattered around the cabin. While it's tempting to leave Margot and Owen to sit with others, I think that would be frowned upon. We had to wander up and down the aisles while the captain announced, "we cannot depart until someone moves so this family with children can sit together." No one would make eye contact with us. After more threats from the captain, some people moved so three of us could sit together. Andy and I took turns entertaining the kids. What a disaster.

We finally arrived in Cyprus and the resort was quite nice. We resigned ourselves that we weren't going to see much of Cyprus itself. Instead, we hung around the pool most days. Margot and Owen lived in the pool. Margot is becoming a confident swimmer and can withstand frigid water temperatures for unnaturally long periods. Owen, no surprise, is crazy. He dives underwater, coming up choking and laughing, and does it again. We practically had to wrestle him to keep him from hurting himself or drowning. This does not bode well for the beach this summer.

Surrounding the pool were large outdoor beds. We'd claim one each day and lie there during those rare moments when the kids wanted to get out of the water. Andy & I would order a cocktail here or there. By the end of week, Margot could hail the waiter and charge chocolate milkshakes to our room. This does not bode well for our future. (For you Kerbys reading this, it reminds of the ol' CCBC days.)

We could have been in Florida for all we saw of Cyprus. But, a little sunshine and R&R can't be beat.

Here's some shots of water fun.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Easter, Huh?

For Easter weekend, the Brits give both Good Friday and Easter Monday as holidays. We decided we should get out of town and see some English countryside. We've heard the Cotswolds are lovely so off we went.

Our first stop: Oxford. We didn't have much time as it was nearly lunch and Owen needs to be fed promptly. We wandered over to Christ Church College, where they filmed the Hogwarts dining hall scenes in the Harry Potter films. I assume some educatin' goes on there as well. It was extremely beautiful and frigidly cold. So, off we went to for some bangers. This turned out to be a culinary theme for the week.

Then we set off for our rented cottage in the charming village of Woodstock. We were a quick walk away from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. We immediately set out to tour the grounds and it was beautiful, but still cold. There were the requisite geese and sheep, of course. Margot and Owen had a blast mucking about.

On Saturday, we tried to tour the interior of the palace. With two toddlers, this is not easy. We couldn't bring the buggy so we had to let them walk. This was fairly disastrous as they ran in opposite directions, trying to touch priceless knick-knacks. We departed. There were some children's activities in the "Pleasure Gardens" so we thought we might do better there. We missed the little choo-choo train so decided to walk. It suddenly started to hail. The kids were covered in the buggy, but I was pelted with golf-ball-sized hail and blown about in with gale-force winds. (Andy was moving the car.) We finally made it. Needless to say, we decided against the Easter Egg hunt in the blizzard. Margot had her face painted and Owen ate more sausages. They had a Punch and Judy show which Margot enjoyed immensely. Owen kept trying to reveal the puppeteer like the Wizard of Oz. He had to be removed.

Sunday was Easter, of course. We had a fabulous Easter egg hunt in our cottage. Margot can sniff out chocolate anywhere. Owen was just having fun running around. The famous Bear Hotel was our choice for Easter Brunch; a bit fancy for kiddies but a fabulous, homey meal. There were blizzards all morning. That afternoon, we packed the kiddies in the car to see a little more countryside. We visited two beautiful towns: Bourton-on-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold. Both have been bitten by the tourist bug but were lovely nonetheless.

We had a great visit to the Cotswolds and got a little taste of the countryside. We hope to do more.

Here are some photos.