Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Do You Do When...

It has been raining for days, and school is still not in session here. In fact, Antalya still has another two full weeks before she's back at nursery. That means any indoor play place is not only extremely crowded, but also way over priced (they raise prices when school is not in session). Two things that I refuse to put up with.

So, that leaves me, two energetic girls, and a small boring flat. Not the best of combinations. So we have been putting our rain coats to good use, and doing our best to enjoy all this English rain.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Need For Words and Other Misc Stuff

Antalya was playing with her Little People - talking to them, giving them rides in the little car, and fully engrossed in her own world.

Along comes Victoria and takes one of the Little People.

Antalya tries unsuccessfully to grab it out of her hand.

Both start yelling.

Now, normally this is where I jump in and negotiate the solution. But today, feeling both tired of the usual and a bit curious I just sat back and watched. I threw out a few reminders to Antalya to not hit and to be gentle, but that was it.

Within a couple minutes a new game had emerged between the two of them. Not a word had been spoken (one of them too little to know how to speak, and the other's words are only understood by me), but yet they both knew the rules of the game.

Victoria would take one of the Little People. Then yell.
Antalya would take the Little People back. Then yell.
Then both would laugh. Then repeat.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend last week. We were talking about sign language, and somehow it came out that growing up she had a friend next door who was deaf. Neither of them knew sign language, but they would play together all the time. She quickly threw in, "I wonder how we communicated".

I've watched Antalya interacting with other kids long enough to know that when it comes to children - being able to communicate through spoken words is not a pre-requiste to making friends. Antalya seems to make friends where ever we go. And somehow, without any words spoken, games are created and understood.

I love this picture taken a few weeks ago because it illustrated so well what I'm saying. These four little kids had only met five minutes earlier. They had one thing in common - they were at the park and ready to play. They didn't care what each others name where, or age, or religion, or talents and abilities. And they didn't care that they couldn't understand a word Antalya spoke. parkfun

It seems most the time that the world makes more sense when I try to look at it through my daughter's eyes, than from my own.

And on a completely different note. I'm realizing I will never get "caught up" with posting pictures and details about our summer adventures. So here's a few highlights from everything I have been meaning to do a post about.

Antalya discovered tap-dancing this summer at my mom's house. She had a pair of tap shoes just Antalya's size. Take note of the outfit. This is the only way Antalya likes to play dress up - ten outfits piled on top of each other.

Happy Birthday Victoria! My baby turned ONE in July. We celebrated with a swim party, followed by pizza and Elmo cupcakes at the park. DSCN0433

A visit to Windsor Castle with my parents while they were visiting us. It has been the home of the sovereignty for 900 years, and one of my favorite castles to visit.

Searching for Robin Hood in the Sherwood Forest. IMG_8828

All the cousins on my side, minus baby Alivia who couldn't make it for the picture. IMG_8455

Antalya seems to find sticks where ever we go. This one was a real find - the biggest one to date. Found at Hyde Park in the London.

I wore this shirt when I was Antalya's age. Doesn't she look so cute! IMG_8837

And last, but certainly not least, I never got around to posting the adventures of our last day in Ireland. The highlight of the trip happened to be on that last day when we stumbled upon this old, abandoned ruin of a castle on the Ring of Kerry and got to explore. IMG_0247

And that's it - our summer in a nut shell!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dover Castle to the Sherwood Forest - Part II

Life is beginning to return to a normal routine after almost three months of "being on vacation". Monday night it was just the four of us sitting at the dinner table. The last time that happened was June 1, right before my parents arrived and our summer holiday began. But before I get too comfortable being back in real life, I need to get caught up on our blogging adventures. It's late, and I am oh-so-tired, so I'll just leave you with our Dover Castle adventure for tonight.

There is some fascinating history about the castle you can check out here if you have a minute. Dover sits right on the coast is the closest point to France, and so, although the castle standing today wasn't built until the 12th century, the place itself has been an important defensive city since the time of the Romans in the 1st century AD. In fact near the castle is the remains of a Roman lighthouse that is supposedly the oldest standing building in Britain.

During the Napoleonic wars there were a series of underground tunnels build throughout the castle. During WWII these same tunnels became a military command center and underground hospital. I was super excited to tour the tunnels and learn more about them, but unfortunately the traffic getting to the castle was a lot worse than I was expecting and so there just wasn't time. We'll have to make another trip out to Dover before we leave England to see the tunnels. But we did enjoy walking around within the castle gates and catching a glimpse of France in the distance.

The beautiful castle

Victoria pointing the way we should go

France in the distance
The Roman lighthouse

PS I found us a new flat yesterday. I have two weeks to get us all packed up before moving day. It's not quite as nice as our flat now, but it has everything we need and we'll be saving a bundle of money on rent each month. It's only a half mile from where we are now. It will most definitely be the shortest distance I have ever moved :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dover Castle to the Sherwood Forest - Part I

I've been working on this post for several days now, but with being gone from morning until night everyday and trying to keep up on grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and searching for a new flat during any spare moment I can find, the blogging world has taken a very back seat for now. But just so everyone knows I am still alive, here is part 1 of the post that hopefully I will finish soon.

We are still busy with lots of sightseeing. Our niece, Laci will be here for one more week and we are trying to make the most of every day. Last week was a busy week, with lots of driving. The girls were troopers. It's been so fun to see more of this beautiful country.

The week started with more sights in the city. The girls loved hanging out at Trafalgar Square, playing in the fountain and chasing the birds.

Next, we found ourselves at Whipsnade's Wild Animal Park. I'd like to say it was fabulous, but to be honest it was just REALLY expensive and not at all exciting for the girls. Although, the overpriced train around the park was fun.
The elephants put on a good show

(never imagined I would be sprayed with elephant saliva), but unfortunately by that time both girls were... you guessed it, sleeping.

We also visited the Hatfield House, built in 1607 by the 1st Earl of Salisbury. It was one of the magical days that was filled only with smiles and laughter. I don't think I heard any crying or complaining all day. The girls were even happy touring inside the house.

We let the girls play at a playground while we ate our picnic lunch. Before I knew it Antalya had joined in playing with some other kids and was having a blast. It was so fun to watch her interact with them.
Next we headed to Cambridge, or as I soon found out "bike-central". I had never seen so many people get around on bikes. They were parked everywhere, and once 4:30 hit and most classes were ending for the day the streets filled with people biking home. It was a fun little town, with lots of amazing architecture everywhere we turned.

Coming Soon: Part II - including Dover Castle, Sherwood Forest, Stratford-upon-Avon, Canterbury, Warwick, Hyde Park, and more.