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Sunday, October 27, 2013

October

So here it is October 27th...I have finally caught the blog up to date after eight months of not posting! I am feeling very accomplished!!

On October 6th, Keith ran in the 10k through Greenwich Park. We decided to make a day of it and check out the area. We were so lucky to have a beautiful, sunny day to take in the sights! Keith did great in his race and had a personal best despite the hilly terrain of the park!

Greenwich is known for being the home of the Greenwich Mean Time and the Meridian Line. Famous landmarks include Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory and Sir Christopher Wren's Old Royal Naval College.

We spent the entire afternoon exploring the park by climbing trees, playing on the playground, enjoying the view of London from the Royal Observatory hill, riding paddle boats in the pond and taking a look at the Cutty Sark. A great family day out!












Hello London!










View of the Royal Observatory
Where we took the photos of the City



The Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship built in 1869. It was one of the last tea clippers built and also one of the fastest.  The ship was badly damaged by fire in 2007 while undergoing conservation. It was reopened to the public in 2012.


We had some excitement this month...our first trip to the emergency room! Ryan was at the park after school and hit his head on the climbing structure while playing a game of tag. I was on the other side of the playground and by the time I reached him he was covered in blood. A pretty scary moment. The paramedics were called and by the time they arrived we had cleaned him up enough to realise that is was a deep cut on the top of his head. Ryan and I took the ride to the hospital in the ambulance and were seen within 5 minutes of arrival. The hospital staff were very kind, cleaned the area and glued it shut. Ryan was very brave and surprisingly we were in and out in about 25 minutes! Quite an event!



The kids have been very busy with sports and activities this fall. Aiden is enrolled in gymnastics and swimming lessons, Mandy has tennis, gymnastics, choir and orchestra and Ryan is doing gymnastics and swimming lessons.

Ryan has been afraid to swim since we first introduced him to the water at one year of age. This summer he was disappointed that he couldn't join his friends in the pool because he was unable to swim. We signed Ryan up for 6 private lessons with an amazing instructor. The first three sessions were tough. He cried through much of it but by session 4, something clicked. He has now completed all 6 sessions and is going underwater, swimming with only a noodle or kick board and most importantly, having fun! Way to go Ryan!! So proud of how far you have come.




Keith had to go to Minnesota for a week long conference. During that time he had to do a presentation and wanted a photo of the four of us to end with. I took the kids into London to get the perfect backdrop. Here are a few shots!






Friday the 25th the kids had a Halloween Mufti Day at school as a way to raise money for the PSA and ring in the start of half term. Mandy truly embraced her character and Ryan was in his glory as Aniken Skywalker. Aiden thought he was pretty cute as he strut his stuff all over the school playground!! 









I mentioned in a previous post that our time in London would be coming to an end in December however we didn't have a plan as to what was coming next. This month, Keith accepted the position being offered by his company. He will be changing hats and moving from the Sales Division to the Marketing Division which is a huge opportunity for him. With this comes a move to headquarters based just outside of Minneapolis. While this was not the first place we thought to move, it is the right choice for our family. We are hoping that our new adventures in Minnesota, though much different from London, will continue.

Tomorrow morning we head to Italy for a week long holiday! We are being very ambitious in our last big trip by taking in Venice, Florence and Rome in 7 days! Very excited to see the sights of Italy!!

A Weekend in Edinburgh!!!

September 27-29 2013

Edinburgh is a city that I have wanted to get to since we arrived here in London. Unfortunately, the kids and I have never found the right time to tag along on one of Keith's many trips to Scotland. I decided, with Keith away in Canada on business, to take the kids on a weekend getaway and finally check out this amazingly historic and charming city!

The flight time from London to Edinburgh is a quick 70 minutes, which is a piece of cake after our long flights back to New York! Upon arrival we took a quick taxi ride to our hotel which was just off the Royal Mile. We checked into our room and headed out for lunch and some exploring!

We spent a lot of time along the Royal Mile High Street, which stretches from Edinburgh Castle to The Palace of Holyrood. We shopped, ate, watched street performers and of course hit many of the must see tourist spots! Here is a great link to the history and buildings along the Royal Mile, http://www.royal-mile.com/onroyalmile.html

By far, touring Edinburgh Castle and climbing one of the peaks of Calton Hill were the best things we did while there. Not only were we taking in amazing history but the views of the city were AMAZING!!!

SIGHTS ALONG THE ROYAL MILE




Parliament Square


Bank of Scotland HQ

Barclay Church
Barclay Church









St.Giles Cathedral


Canongate Kirk
Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom. It is located at the end of the Royal Mile opposite Edinburgh Castle. Queen Elizabeth spends one week a year in residence


EDINBURGH CASTLE

The Castle sits upon the plug of an extinct volcano. It is believed that the rock has been occupied by humans since the 2nd century. The Castle has sheltered many Scottish monarchs, including Queen Margaret and Mary Queen of Scots. In the 1600s, the castle became a military base. Some buildings were rebuilt and new ones were built to hold a huge garrison and provide a secure jail for prisoners of war. The military presence remains, but over the last 200 years the castle has become a national icon. It is now Scotland's leading tourist attraction! 

I feel like every city we visit has some building or statue that has an amazing presence. This castle is amazing. You can see it from all over the city and it has some fascinating nooks to explore! The kids and I had a great time climbing the steps and checking out the views of the city and the various prison cells.


















We rode the Open Top City Tour Bus around the city. I love being able to get off where we want and being able to get back on later. It is especially convenient with the kids! Here are a few sights we saw along the way!










HIKING CALTON HILL

Calton Hill is a hill in central Edinburgh. It is the headquarters of the Scottish Government, which is based at St Andrew's House on the southern slope of the hill. The Scottish Parliament Building and Holyrood Palace are near the foot of the hill. The hill also includes several iconic monuments and buildings such as the National Monument, the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Monument, the old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument and the City Observatory.

When we first saw the hill from the bus, Mandy said "Look mom, there are people up there! Let climb it too!" I thought it was a good idea until we stood at the base and I realised how much of a climb it would be with three kids and a stroller. We decided to give it a go and see how high we could get. About 1/4 of the way up we ditched the stroller in the tall grass and Aiden walked almost the rest of the way to the top. It took us about 45 minutes to reach one of the peaks, but is was so worth it!!





Views of the city

















I am so glad I made the trip with the kids to this amazing city. Mandy and Ryan really seemed to embrace the history and the significance of some of the buildings. It great to see their excitement. The only thing that could have made this trip better would have been if Keith were with us!