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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Term Break Fun!!

At the end of a term, the kids get a two week break from school. Lucky for me, the Fab Four was here for week one and helped to occupy the kids a bit, but once they left I still had a full week of my little angels (said with a touch of sarcasm) all to myself...

So what did we do you ask?

Well, we slept late a few mornings, did a little shopping for birthday parties and summer clothes, had a picnic at Kew Gardens with some friends, went to The London Zoo in Regents Park  and did a day trip to Legoland in Windsor.

Was it a long week....YES....but, we did squeeze in a lot of fun and laughs too!! Here are some pictures of the zoo and Legoland!

Having fun and running free in Regents Park
(this park consists of 410 acres)

The Drinking Fountain in Regents Park

Mandy almost peed her pants when she heard the name of this shrimp!!

This butterfly house was FILLED with butterflies...
a few came close to landing on us.
Mandy and I LOVED it...Ryan, not so much!

This baby monkey was hysterical...
didn't sit still long enough for a good shot.

We were able to walk into a Monkey habitat where they roming free inside...
they literally were within reach

Walking back to the tube through Queen Mary's Royal Gardens

LegoLand is located in Windsor. Once through the main ticket gate, you come to an overlook and are able to see Windsor Castle in the distance.

Overall we had a great day, there were a TON of people, so lines were long making it hard to get on all the rides we wanted. We were able to stop periodically and build things with Legos as well as see a lot of really impressive Lego creations!

Keith and Mandy are in the 2nd row on the left

Lego version of Buckingham Palace

Sights of London

Tower Bridge

Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Paris

Mandy put together a working WindMill

A Visit From The Fab Four...

April 2- April 15, 2011

Mom, Dad, Nancy and Grandma made the trip over the pond for a visit!!! After an initial bump in the road (I stayed out a bit later than expected with the ladies and was not there to greet them...) I needed to redeem myself!!! I made sure I jammed all the sights possible into their two week visit and I think if you were to ask them now, I more than made up for being late the first night!!!

During the first week, we went to Windsor Castle, spent two full days in London, checked out the sights around Richmond and Kew, watched both Mandy and Ryan in their school assemblies and attended a tee ball game! While I know they all enjoyed the sights of London, I think the day spent in Windsor was the most impressive for them.

Windsor Castle has the most amazing detail inside. The ceilings and chandeliers are breathtaking, you can feel the royalty within its' walls. I wish we were able to photograph the inside, though I doubt it would do it justice.

I Love these photos of St. George's Chapel

Through this archway, are stores and restaurants...lots of fun shopping!!

While in London, we went on the London Eye, took a ride on the Double Decker sight seeing bus, ate an awesome fish n' chips lunch at an authentic pub, spent some time in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, Dad walked across the famous Abbey Road crosswalk, saw Buckingham Palace and a changing of the guards, strolled through Green Park and St. James Park, Toured Westminster Abbey and did a bit of souvenir shopping!!

The London Eye

Big Ben

Big Ben & House of Parliament

Buckingham Palace from the London Eye

Fab Four on the Eye

Love the Shadow

The Eye through the Blossoms

St Paul's Cathedral

Going over Tower Bridge

County Hall

Big Ben From Trafalgar Square

Countdown to the Olympic Games

National Gallery

Fab Four in Trafalgar Square

Nelson's Column

Gotta Love the Eye

Dad on Abbey Road

Green Park...Tents in the back for the Royal Wedding

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

St. James Park

Westminster Abbey

That Lady is like " Ugh...Tourists!"

The Courtyard in The Abbey

Over the weekend, we took in one of Mandy's tee ball games and also spent the afternoon in Kew Gardens. The Royal Botanical Garden of Kew, is 297 acres of beautiful gardens and huge opportunities for learning, not to mention the kids love the playground!

"Museum No. 1" which was opened in 1857. The upper two floors are now an education centre and the ground floor houses the "Plants+People" exhibition which highlights the variety of plants and the ways that people use them.

The Palm House

This is Kew Palace, George III once lived there, but most recently, Prince Charles held Queen Elizabeth's 80th Birthday celebration there in 2006!

After a quiet weekend of tee ball and Kew Gardens, we packed up and took the Eurostar train to Paris for a three day trip. I was really excited to show them parts of Paris, it is a beautiful city that is very different from London. When we arrived we went straight to the hotel to check in. Let's just say, the staff was great, the breakfast each morning was nice but man o man were those rooms small...!!! I literally had to walk on top of the beds to get to the bathroom because there was NO floor space!!! Total flash to European Vacation with Chevy Chase!!!

As far as the sights...I think they were all struck by the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower as I continue to be. It is truly amazing! Speaking of amazing...Nancy and Grandma were sitting at the base of the Tower and started a conversation with another American. Long story short, not only was she American, but she was from Westbrook Connecticut (4 towns away from where we live in Branford), and her husband knew Uncle Bo (Nancy's late husband)! Small world!!!!

Overall it was a great trip, filled with great weather and beautiful sights!

I love taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower...just wish the pictures made as much of an impact as standing beside it!

Mandy Loves Paris....These pictures are taken from the second observation deck.

Arc de Triomphe

Basilique de Sacre-Coeur or Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Hotel  des Invalides or The Dome Church

The Mall at the base of the Tower

Mandy and I walked down all the stairs from the second observation deck and counted 825 steps!

The Dome Church

Open Top bus ride

My little Parisian

Arc de Triomphe

The Opera House

Notre Dame Cathedral

Awesome Shopping area!!

Seine River

Grandma and her Expresso!

Mandy lost her first tooth once we returned home!!!

I hope that Mom, Dad, Grandma and Nancy had a great time here in London. I know that we loved having them here and showing them a piece of our new life here...Richmond Center, Bus 65, taking the tube, Kew Center, our favorite Italian restaurant, the walk to school, my super fast hand mixer, 36 steps to the third floor, the cats on the glass roof, the narrow streets and playing chicken with the other cars...

We love you guys and can't wait to see you in August!