Saturday, May 21, 2011

Princess Diana Memorial Playground

It's been almost two years since we moved here to London.

On our very first day here in London, while walking through Hyde Park, my mom and I stumbled upon this amazing playground that was built after the death of Princess Diana. Since that day, I have been wanting to get back there with the girls to play. Now, with only a few Saturdays left, and Jason spending every minute preparing for exams, I decided it was time for me and the girls to make the journey.

You would think that since the playground is in London, and we live in London, this would be easy enough, but it's not (hence the reason it's taken me almost two years to return). If I opted for public transportation it is over an hour away with several transfers. Or if I drove, I would have to tackle the London traffic with no guarantee that once we arrived I would be able to find parking.

I decided to take my chances driving. After a 20 minute detour trying to find a place to fill up the car, we made it, and even found parking nearby.

The playground is pretty amazing. The main area is filled with sand and water, with a huge pirate ship. But, that's only one part. There is also a little kids play area, a teepee area, a wooded play area, and a musical area.

The girls loved running around seeing all there was to do. We were all a bit sad when we had to head back to the car before the paid time on our parking space lapsed.

Picnik collage

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Carnival Fun

There is nothing that makes me feel more like a little kid than carnival rides. I love the music, the crowds, the cotton candy, the lights, the grins on little kids faces.

So, of course, when I saw that the traveling summer carnival was going to be at our local park this week I made sure to have an entire afternoon free to take the girls.

We had a blast! It was Victoria's first real time experiencing rides of any sort. She was in love with these little cars. I think she went on them at least ten times.
It made me day seeing her cute smiles and waves each time she passed by me. And as soon as the ride came to a stop she would quickly say, "one more!", with a huge, hopeful grin on her face.

Antalya loved it all! But that's no surprise. She is my thrill seeking daughter - the louder and faster, the better, when it comes to her preferences.
She was stuck riding the littlest rides with Victoria for most of the time, but once Jason arrived, she and I quickly headed to the big kids lines.

She absolutely loved the one that plays really loud music as you go round and round so fast that you have to cling on to the handle bar to not be thrown to the other side of the car. This is a picture of her excitement before the ride even began. I think I can fairly say, that once we got going really fast, she was in complete heaven!

And of course, no fun day out is ever complete without an overly priced ice cream cone!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Catch Up

I recently heard someone say that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. That seems so true lately!

We are down to less than a month in England, and it seems each week is flying by quicker than the one before, and we are finding ourselves more and more busy with each coming day.

Here's a little of what we've up to:

Our favorite treat lately is California strawberries. I can't always find them, but when I do, they are worth any price I have to pay. They are by far the juiciest, sweetest strawberries we have had while here in London. Sometimes we even hand dip them in melted Lindt chocolate. I'll tell ya, it is as close to heaven on earth as one can get!

When I first arrived here in London, I started talking to another mom at the park. She had two year old twins, and was just as stressed out as I was. We were a good match! Over these past two years that friendship has really blossomed and our children have all become great friends. Two weeks ago they moved to Australia. It was difficult to say goodbye knowing we might never see them again in this life. We miss Linda and her cute Lewis and Sienna!

Mine and Jason's niece, Kristen was here for two weeks at the beginning of May. We had such a wonderful time with her. We began taking evening trips to the park. It was the perfect way to wear the girls out before bed.

Since we moved here I have been anxious to visit the London LDS Temple. A temple is a building different than our regular Sunday meeting houses, a place that is very sacred and important to those of our faith. But it's more than a two hour drive from our house, so I hadn't yet been able to go there. While Kristen was in town, we decided to make the journey. It was such a wonderful experience and so worth the drive!

The night before Kristen flew out we got tickets to see Hamlet performed at the Globe Theatre. It was truly the most memorable experience I have had here in London. We purchase the groundling tickets that the common people would have bought back in Shakespeare's time (meaning the standing room only area in front of the stage). We arrived early and were able to get a standing spot right next to the stage. We were literally leaning on the stage the whole night, with the actors only inches from us. It was incredible! An experience I hope never to forget. I'm kicking myself for not taking a camera with me - so this picture I found on google will have to suffice.
Over this past weekend, my good friend Christine, and her family came to visit. They have been living in Qatar the past two years and are on their way back home to the states. We were so excited they decided to stop in London for a few days. While her husband took the two older boys to Paris, Christine and her two youngest stayed to play with us. The girls were in heaven having two play mates staying at our house.

And now, we have a couple days of calm before our last round of visitors arrive on Saturday. I feel like life has never than better than it is right now. I'm soaking up every last memory I can of London before I have to say farewell.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Weeks Worth

With success in the toilet training department, an ENT appointment, the arrival of the girls cousin, Kristen, a Royal Wedding to celebrate, a trip to the London Zoo, and the death of the most wanted man in the world, it has been quite a week!

With all the toilet training we have been doing with Antalya, Victoria has surprised us by deciding that she is also ready to be done with diapers. But although she might be ready, I'm not ready to cope with the unavoidable "accidents" and emergency runs to the toilet for two little ones at the same time. So, she's stuck wearing diapers whenever we are not at home until I feel more confident about Antalya's ability to not have accidents when we are away from home.

Antalya's sleeping and what seem like continuous sinus infections have had me worried for some time. But ironically, once the appointment with the ENT was within view, her congestion cleared up, and she has started sleeping through the night for the first time in her life. I don't know why the sudden change after all these years, but I'm not complaining. I hope it continues for both of our sakes!

Kristen arrived last Thursday. I love having people visit, and the girls are loving it as well. Victoria thinks she is her new best friend!
(Victoria looks very concerned because Antalya has just run off, with Jason chasing after her)

I absolutely loved watching the Royal Wedding of Will and Kate. In fact, I was really surprised at just how much I enjoyed it, and even more surprised that the girls sat through most of it. We went to a party at a local school with a friend and watched it on a big screen while enjoying one of my favorite treats - english scones with jam and clotted cream.
(Antalya still talks about the "Princess" and wants to watch it again).


Two of my favorite quotes from the ceremony were:
Every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future (Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres).
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire (St Catherine of Sienna).
And the day was complete when a DJ showed up in the afternoon and all the kids could dance their hearts out.

The next day was our first trip to the London Zoo. I was grateful to have Kristen to help out with the girls. Victoria is completely obsessed with animals lately and didn't want to move once she found one. Antalya on the other hand is completely bored with looking at animals and prefers to run wild, stopping only briefly to catch her breathe when needed.

Here is Victoria strutting her stuff through the zoo. She picked out her entire outfit that morning and was very proud of it (although I must add, that she originally was wearing her wellies, but I made her change them for shoes since it was so hot out).

And don't let this angelic face fool you, she is quite the handful sometimes! She gave me the scare of my life when, while I was in the midst of cleaning poop off Victoria's bum on the changing table, she snuck out of the bathroom, through the cafe, and back outside without me knowing it. As soon as I got a clean diaper on Victoria and realized she was gone, we took off at mach speed running through the cafe with Victoria barely clinging onto my side. Luckily Kristen and another friend that were on their way into the cafe caught her before she escapes too far.
(Notice her name and my phone number written on her hand, after this experience I'm considering having it tattooed to her forehead just in case).

And now we have the news that Osama-bin-Laden is no longer wanted! I feel proud to be an American, and grateful for the brave men and woman who brought justice to the man responsible for creating so much terror throughout the world for so many years.

And here's to another week!