Thursday, September 30, 2010

mark my words....


let me explain....

this lovely contraption is my washer AND dryer:

-it is TINY- i can fit about half the amount of clothes that i would put in the SMALLEST load in my washer at home (which is equivilant to about 4 articals of jonathan's clothes OR 2-3 days worth of kids clothes)

-there is no where to put fabric softener, and they don't have dryer sheets in ANY store i've been in... because apparently everyone in London thinks these things are a good idea.

-it NEVER, i repeat, NEVER, gets your clothes all the way dry.... so i usually end up doing an EXTRA dry cycle after it's done

still, most of our clothes end up on this:

-and if you don't get the clothes out right away, they are so wrinkled that you can't even iron them, they must be re-washed if you want to wear them without looking homeless.

-i have never ironed so much in my life, which i don't really mind, i'm just not used to it-- at home, for me, ironing was putting my clothes back in the dryer for a few min until all the wrinkles were gone.

-OH YEAH, worst of all.....ONE load takes well over 3 HOURS!!


here are a few things that i WILL complain about when i get home, because i have NOT had to do them here, not once....

-take out the garbage

-clean the bathrooms

-mop the floors

-wash towels

-change sheets

-wash sheets


-clean the oven/stove

did i mention that we have a maid who comes twice a week??

(don't be too impressed, most people around here have a maid that comes daily, along with a nanny, and someone that does all their grocery shopping-- but, i'm not complaining!!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The London Eye

A couple weeks ago, when my mom was here, we went on the London Eye... another 'must do' if you're ever in London! We were able to go right around sundown, it was beautiful and the view was amazing!

this is obviously not on the Eye, but we saw it on our way, and really, who can resist these cardboard cutouts!

this one cracks me up!

here it is-
it is 443 ft tall
on a clear day you can see 25 miles from the top
one revolution takes 30 min (you get on and off while it's moving)
it took 7 years to build
(and yes... i had to do the conversions from meters and km so we can all understand!)

the boys sat down just long enough to take a picture... then they were glued to the glass staring down

i made sure to have my mom take lots of pictures of me and jonathan and our family while she was here!

like i said, glued to the windows

views from the top!

they turned around for a few seconds to humor us while we took pictures

there was a really sweet american couple that took a group shot for us
everyone in our pod kept laughing every time we took pictures because blake and adam would automatically start yelling "cheese" (they've been trained well). there was also another couple in the pod right below us that blake and adam were waving and blowing kisses too, they loved it.... it was adorable! we had so much fun!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

who would've thought....

....that putting a silly face on a vacuum cleaner.....

.....would make kids want to do their chores!

i had to BRIBE him to put the thing away! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


We just dropped my mom off at the airport after being here for about 2 weeks.
I don't even know how to express how grateful I am for all that she's done for us, and how much help she has been. She flew over with me to help with the boys, and she did SO much while she was here to help us feel settled and find our way around. I could NOT have done it without her! The plane ride alone would've been a disaster. She pretty much did all the shopping (stores here are less than kid friendly, I will NEVER attempt to take them with me grocery shopping)... she helped wrangle the kids while we tried to find our way around the city, she cleaned, she watched kids so Jonathan and I could have some time together, she was AMAZING. It was hard to see her go, not just for all that she's done but because I'll miss her and the boys will miss her.
I love you mom, a million thank you's for everything! Come back and see us soon!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Key Ceremony- Tower of London

"The Ceremony of the Keys is the traditional locking up of the Tower of London and has taken place on each and every night, without fail, for at least 700 years. The importance of securing this fortress for the night is still very relevant because, although the Monarch no longer resides at this royal palace, the Crown Jewels and many other valuables do."

Jonathan and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend this ceremony last night as special guests. Apparently it is incredibly hard to get tickets (numerous people have told us this), you have to send a request in writing months in advance, and you have even less of a chance of getting in if you're FROM here! But, because of Jonathan's connection to the Embassy, we were able to go last night.
We had a great time.... the evening started with a guided tour by one of the Yeomen Warders (or Beefeaters) giving us a history of the tower (or towers), showing us all the places where people were executed, where the various Monarchs lived and what they did, etc. It was fascinating to listen to, and very exciting! We went into the church where Ann Boleyn, along with many others, were buried (with their heads under their arms)!

Then before the actual ceremony our group was invited to The Club (the private bar where all the Yeomen Warders, and other guards drink) to chat and have a drink.... we spent the whole time talking with a couple Beefeaters who were hilarious (they only teased us a little for drinking diet coke!).

The actual ceremony was really short, and you couldn't really see that well, but it was neat to be there and know that it's been going on for hundreds of years!

After the ceremony we went back to The Club where they had a raffle, Jonathan won some cuff links. Then we headed home. We had a great evening, I felt honored to get the opportunity to be a part of something so historical and important.

(i would've taken pictures, but it was dark, and you couldn't take any pictures in the church or of the actual ceremony. we plan to go back during the day for one of the regular tours to see the crown jewels and walk around a little more.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

London Bus Tour

If you ever go to London, I highly recommend taking a bus tour. It was excellent! They have tons of buses running so you can get off any time to look at things, then just get back on the next bus that comes. It was a great way to see EVERYTHING, then later you can just go back to the things you want to spend more time at. We all had a great time, the boys especially loved sitting on the top of the open air double decker bus. Here are a few of the things we saw.....
we started the day in Trafalgar Square, which was named for the large statue of Admiral Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

the famous lions.... which we found out they used dogs as models.... so besides the face they actually look more like dogs. apparently they began by using a dead lion as their model, but it decomposed to quickly so they finished up using a dog... idiots!

enjoying the ride!
you don't see a smile that big very often!
sooooo happy to be with daddy again
my mom, she took most of the pictures since i was busy wrestling kids, and making sure they didn't jump off the bus :)

Big Ben (which is just the name of the huge 13 ton bell inside, not the rest of the clock or the tower itself)
St. Paul's Cathedral
one of the oldest wooden structures from the time of Shakespeare
The Supreme Court of England and Wales... opened by Queen Victoria in 1882!

Westminster Abbey

The Marble Arch (which used to be the main entrance at Buckingham Palace, but was moved when they extended the palace.... although some tour guides will tell you they moved it because the Queen's Carriage didn't fit through it!)
The Victoria Memorial- Queen Victoria, the longest reigning monarch in British history, the longest reigning female monarch in the world. She is very fascinating... I've been reading a lot about her, she was incredible!
us in front of Buckingham Palace

tired legs

tired boy...
We had a great day, and saw so much. London is so rich with history, it's amazing how OLD things are, you just don't see that in the States. So, to my sister, whom I endlessly make fun of for choosing HISTORY as a college major... I now see why you did. (now, i'm not saying it was the smartest decision of your life, but I understand it now :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Park Hopping

Since the first day we got here we've been going to park after park.....London has some of the coolest parks we have ever been to....and they are EVERYWHERE! We have been having so much fun exploring them.

Here are some of the ones we've been to (and since blogger is so awesome at uploading pictures, they are in reverse order, starting with our most recent

Hyde Park- The Princess Diana Memorial Park
Hyde Park itself is HUGE, and this particular play area is the largest we've seen.... there was so much for the kids to do. Several different areas, with tons of different toys.

a pirate ship in the sand

walking the plank....

steering the boat

of course little brother HAS to do everything big brother does

this is a water area that is on during the summer.... it rained today so it wasn't on

this swing was in high demand, we had to stand around for a while to get on

it was definitely worth it, the boys loved it

steps leading from the treasure chest and lookout to the tee pee village

adam loves going down slides

another play area that was like a giant tree house

we will for sure be going back to this park, it even had a fence all the way around, and only people with children were allowed in.... there was someone at the gate checking!

St. James Park
we found this play area by accident, we were on our way to Buckingham Palace, just walking through the parks, and found this cute little area.

The boys loved the teeter totter... especially when mom and dad were on it

these little snail looking things didn't do anything, but the boys thought they were riding horses!
there were also lots of swing, slides, and some other toys, but we didn't take many pictures.

Paddington Street Park
i'm not sure if that's the official name of the park, but it's on Paddington street... so there ya go. i LOVE this park, but more importantly so do the boys. this one is only a couple blocks from our flat and it is perfect! it's all fenced in (as most play areas are around here), it's covered by trees, there's a little gazebo that you can go under if it starts raining, the toilets are really close, and there is SO much to do! i met a girl that was there with her son and she was telling me that it was one of the best parks around, we are so lucky to live so close to it!

this is only about a third of the park... isn't it cute

adam has become quite efficient at climbing

and as i said before, he loves slides

awesome tire swing! blake stayed on this thing forever, i even got on with him.... and could have stayed there all day (we were laying down, it was great)

more fun toys

all blake wanted to do on this one was push me around on it (it's harder to stay on than it looks!)

very fun teeter totter

yay for swings!

this will be our place... we will go here often, i just know it!

Regent's Park
this is another park very close to us, it has 3 or 4 different play areas.... one of these days we'll actually make it to one! we went here the first day we got here, we were a little jet lagged.... so we didn't last too long. plus the boys were so distracted by the water and all the geese and pigeons that we didn't move very fast... we still had a great time!

they're getting pretty good at saying cheese (now if i could just get them to look at the camera while saying it i'll have trained them well.... they did pretty good here)

at first blake did NOT like the birds.... he still doesn't sometimes, but he's getting used to them, i think he was throwing a leaf at them here....
adam on the other hand LOVES to chase the pigeons around, and i must admit it is pretty hilarious!
we're loving exploring all the parks around here, and walking everywhere.... there's something about being outside, it just makes me happy! we'll see what i'm saying come winter though....