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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween in London!

If you Google "Halloween in London" you get lots of information about activities to do during the week leading up to it, there are haunted houses and hay mazes, pumpkin carving contests and halloween shows...but there is not much information about trick or treating, in fact you get the impression that it is viewed as an annoying American tradition that has made it's way over to pond. We were pleasantly surprised by our neighborhood. There were loads of kids and parents out on the streets and everyone was very friendly and appeared to be enjoying the tradition of trick or treating. In fact a few parents walked with beer/wine in hand!!!

We were given a tip from our neighbor as we ventured out...If a house has their light on and a pumpkin on their step, they will be giving out candy, no pumpkin...no candy. Good rule to remember! Regardless, the kids had a blast and collected a ton of really weird candy, lots of gummy candy in the shape of various body parts (nose, ear, eyeball)! Another interesting observation, people like to set off fireworks on Halloween. Not only were they bursting through the sky, but there were three or four stands in the grocery store today selling fireworks specifically for tonight...

Here are a few pictures of the kids in costume!












Happy Halloween Everyone!!!!

My Birthday in the City

So I celebrated my birthday this year in London, it was much different than the big family dinner with homemade birthday cake, but was special nonetheless. The kids and I decided to take the tube into London so we could check out Regent's Park Zoo. We had NO idea how big the park was...



We entered the Park at the bottom right hand entrance and the Zoo is all the way at the top left center. Needless to say, we didn't make it to the zoo, but we did find a fantastic playground that kept the kiddies busy for about 90 minutes!!!






We left the park through the Queen's Royal Gardens...I am sure they are AMAZING during the height of the season, but during the cooler part of the year they weren't much to look at.






This building was right outside the park and housed many office buildings and possibly even a few residential homes...


We left the park and headed back to the tube and took it to Piccidilly Circus, where we met Keith at the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. That area of London is a lot of fun, kind of like the London version of Time Square in New York, lots of lights and energy! I think my favorite part of the night was the four of us riding the tube together for the first time...the kids love riding the tube and it was fun to watch Keith watching their excitement...

To top off my birthday, Keith left work early on Friday and dropped me off for a massage while he watched the kids....aaaaahhhhhhhh! Thanks Honey!!! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Day in the Neighborhood

As some of you know we received the official word that BOTH Mandy and Ryan have been admitted to Darell Primary School. It is a very old building filled with a lot of warmth, friendliness and energy from the staff. Mandy will be starting on November 1st in the Year One class and Ryan will be starting on November 10th in the Nursery Class. There is a link to the school website on the right hand side of the blog page.

Wednesday we took a walk back down to the school, which is about 3/4 of a mile from our house, to drop off the registration paperwork (we had to list Keith's office manager as our emergency contact, bit depressing)...Anyway we stopped off at the park that is across the street from the school...here are a few pics from our afternoon of fun!




I Spy with my little eye....a plane!!



Yep...so close you can read the airline name...




Most of the playgrounds have this ropes course, obstacle course look to them.




Look at this big leaf Mom!!!


Arts and craft time with all the leaves Mandy collected!


Ryan likes to build forts with all the cardboard boxes from furniture delivery!!

Funny Food Labels....

So I have to say that the food is not as bad as we were told it would be. Most of the food in the grocery stores is organic, free range feed, preservative free and tastes really fresh. They do however have funny product names and packaging styles. I thought I would share a few I found to be funny....Enjoy!!


Dish Soap


All Purpose Cleaner (Spin off on Mr. Clean?)


Butter (Packaging looks like Promise?)


In a skinny box to fit on the fridge door


Canned tuna looks a lot like cat food...but tastes good!


I really have no words for this...we have yet to try them...a bit scared!


Chocolate Milk and Hot Cocoa mix


I just like how it says "no bits"!!!


This was NASTY!!!!!!!

A Day Trip into London

The kids and I took a trip into London on Friday the 15th to check out the Aquarium. I was totally impressed with not only how the kids behaved but also how I navigated the London tube system with two kids!!!  Here are some pictures of the day!!!



Waiting for the bus in Richmond


I love this photo of the kids in front of the London Eye!!! It was a very surreal moment for me.



 Look kids....Big Ben!!!


 He so wanted to pose with the Penguin...then he found out it was a garbage can!!!


This was a pretty cool playground right at the base of the Eye!





Hanging around!! 


Mickey Mouse is in London!!!


Stopping to feed the pigeons.


Had to take a picture of the cars!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WE'RE HERE!!!!

What a wild and crazy ride we have been on!!! I have to say that the kids were fabulous on the flight!!!! Of course it helped that Toy Story 3 was playing on the plane!!!!








So even though we sent a TON of stuff by both air and sea, we still had a TON of suitcases, seven to be exact, plus two car seats and four carry on bags!!! So because cars in England are typically so small, we had to have two cars drive us to the house...kids and I with carry on in one car, Keith and all the suitcases in another!!! The kids and I arrived first...with no key to the house!!!



Our front garden has a hydrangea bush!!!!

 
 

Once we got in the house...The kids loved the big empty rooms and immediately set off to explore, running up and down the stairs trying to figure out which room was theirs. We couldn't figure out how to unlock the back door so Keith and the kids climbed out the window so they could play in the backyard....looks like we made friends with someone in the neighborhood!!






After the cable man left at 3pm, we decided to take a walk to Richmond center to pick up a few things. We went into the first store and Ryan fell asleep on my shoulder, right about the same time that Mandy began to have a meltdown...Nice! After we finished up there, Keith needed to run across the street to the bank...I went to Starbucks...Mandy and Ryan both asleep!!! When Keith comes in to Starbucks, he finds me pinned to a chair with two sleeping children...in his arms, a toaster, stereo and a 32 inch TV....now what??? So Keith hops the bus, takes everything home then comes back to get us. I did have a great time people watching, and noticed a cute flower stand right outside the window...




Oh, and in case you're wondering....the kids not only slept through the night, but slept in until 8 am., that's 16 hours!!!

Today, after waiting for the new dryer and the first furniture delivery, the kids and I decided to venture out. Where was our first stop??? You got it, McDonald's!!


After lunch we decided to head over to Richmond Green for a little game of chase the pigeons!!





And what did we find on the green....good ol' fashioned telephone booths!!!!


We did actually get to the grocery store today. It was interesting carrying the groceries, holding the kids hands and getting on and off the bus...Doable for the small trips, but near impossible for larger shopping. Now for the grand tour of the house.....Come on in!!!!




Can anyone find the refrigerator????




There it is...about the same size as the one in my college dorm room!




Making themselves right at home.... 


Crazy new cartoons on Nick Jr....


 Let's go upstairs....


Ryan's Room has a decorative fireplace and a nice view of the backyard




Kids' bathroom has a funky toilet seat cover and cool tile design in the shower.




Mandy's got a nice sized room


Check out the crazy toilet in our bathroom...what's up with that?!


Up to the third floor.....






So that's about it for now.... I will update pics as we furnish and make it feel more like home. Tomorrow we are off to see Marshgate Primary School!

Cheers!