Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chattanooga fun

We are so so happy that my sister, auntie m or just "m" to Charlotte, lives in Chattanooga because she is so close to us and there are so many fun things to do there! After London we wanted to spend all of our time doing "Charlotte things" so we packed up for a day trip to see auntie m.

First stop was the aquarium. Last time we went we did the ocean side so we opted for the river side this time. 
She loves the "blub blub" (fish). 

Petting the sturgeon. She was actually a little nervous!

After lunch we went back to her house to take a nap. Charlotte loves playing with m's sweet little dog Georgia "go-go". They are always getting into mischief together. 


After a good nap we headed to the park for some fun!!

First stop carousel! C was so excited she was kind of in a daze, just taking it all in!!

C loved this fish that m chose to ride--she still will tell us "m blub blub blub" meaning "auntie m rode a fish on the carousel".

Next we went to the splash pad! I couldn't get a good picture because she was always on the move! She loved loved it. She loved watching the other children too!

Afterwards we hit the toy store. C loved this tent!! We have got to add one to her Christmas wish list!

 We ended the day with a yummy dinner and then headed home. It was a quick day but a great day spent with our girl and her favorite m!

Worst selfie of all time!!






Destin family weekend

Forrest had the opportunity to be a speaker host at a dental conference in destin so Charlotte and I jumped at the opportunity to join him. We stayed at San destin and since his conference was on the bay side we opted to stay there rather than on the beach. That ended up being a great decision because he was able to come eat lunch with us each day! We were determined to have a relaxing weekend and just go with the flow and that's exactly what we did!
Before we left I painted Charlotte's toe nails pink. I could never get a picture of them but this was her reaction: 
The first thing she did was show them to Sonny! Also she kept saying "toes pink" throughout the trip.
When we arrived on Thursday night we went straight to the wharf to eat dinner. We ate at Marlin grill and it was fantastic! We stopped and got some ice cream on the way back to the room and got side tracked at the pool. It was a zero entry pool--so you entered like you were entering the ocean--perfect for Charlotte! She went right in wearing her clothes and was just so excited we let her. Sometimes you have to let them be little! 

The next morning we slept late and watched tv while we ate breakfast and then spent the rest of the morning at the pool. Sometimes it's so nice just to be--I'm usually so scheduled and always on a clock so that means c is as well. We loved this little break from our schedule! 

Chilling and being lazy with my baby!

That night we went to the vendors reception, where Forrest won two prizes, and then we headed back to the wharf for some dinner and fun! 

First stop, the arcade!! We all had the greatest time!! I love arcade games!!

Play ground with my piggy and crown please! 


A little ice cream makes this little cow a lot happy! 
She would not take the crown off and she wanted piggy to eat "bumber" (cucumber) with her. 
A fun ride on the carousel with mommy!! 


The next day was pretty much the same--sleeping in, pool fun, and then a nap! 
Isn't this pool the best for little ones?! 

Daddy stopped by with a snack during a break! First doughnut! 

After her nap we drove down 30a and stopped to play on the beach and eat a snack. We wrapped up the evening with another swim in the pool, some pizza, and some olympics. 

It was a quick weekend but a great weekend with my little family and I hope I never forget these sweet times. 
First dip cone made the ride home a little more bareable! (Although c has gotten way better at being in the car and she loves watching movies--we watched beauty and the beast sing along songs quite a few times this trip). 






Last Day In London, Day 5

I surprised Forrest on Father's Day with special tour in London--a Maserati tour! That is, he got to drive the Maserati GT through London!

He is very into cars so this was right up his alley. We had a wonderful guide who told us all about the car, gave a few instructions, and then we were off. 

Forrest had two options--drive slowly through town looking at the sights or test out the car's capabilities around Kensington Park--you can guess which one he chose! I was "lucky" enough to get to ride along in the back (with all of our luggage, mind you) and I really really should have opted out of that privilege. The car was FAST and it was a convertible AND he was driving on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car. 

I was totally freaking out but Forrest had no trouble with the differences and had a great time! Don't you just LOVE when you nail a gift?

That sadly was our last adventure in London--we were off to the airport right after they peeled my screaming, pale white body off of the red leather seats. We got to spend some time in the awesome first class lounge (where we had free food, drinks, and I even got a free facial). By this time I was SO ready to get home to Charlotte. I knew she had been having a great time with my parents but I had been away from her for far far far too long. I missed her sweet little baby talk and snuggles and couldn't wait to hold her! I calculated that we would be able to pick her up by about 8pm if all went well, but unfortunately the flight was delayed and I think I actually miscalculated by an hour (that time change is hard, ok?) and so at some point during the flight I realized we wouldn't make it in time to get her before she went to sleep at that it would probably be better for her to just sleep through the night. Oh I was SO sad--I sat there and silently cried while watching War and Peace (I have got to finish that mini series--it was so good). 
Dinner helped.. 

Thankfully, we made it home without incident and got to bed at a descent hour. The next morning Forrest went to work (he is so tough--I didn't even attempt) and I went to get my little one! When she saw me she kind of paused and then the biggest smile spread across her face and she ran to me and grabbed me and would not let go. It was the sweetest sweetest moment. I know that getting away from it all for a while is a good thing for us and for her too but holding her made me never want to leave her again. Life as a mom may not be glamours or relaxing or clean or easy but it is the best life and I wouldn't change it for all the trips in all the world.

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London, Day 4

I refer to our 4th day in London as our "fancy day".  We started the day with lunch at Dinner by Heston (yes, started---we slept so late that day the first thing we did was eat lunch--we never really settled into the time change). This was our anniversary treat--lunch at a Michelin Star restaurant. Heston Blumenthal is the owner of another Michelin rated restaurant in England--The Fat Duck. We had quite a lovely meal and exquisite service. They even surprised us with an anniversary treat!

Afterwards we went across the street to "Harvey Nicks" (Harvey Nichols) for some shopping. I ended up finding an amazing bargain on some Charlotte Olympia cat flats (yes, the cat lady in me sneaks out from time to time) and got a make over! We also shopped for a while in Harrods. Wow--is it big. Forrest and I got separated and it took forever to find each other! Next it was on to afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel. Is there anything more marvelous than afternoon tea? I really think not. Browns was darling and we were able to just sit and relax and take everything all in.

Afterwards we wandered down Bond street and through the neighborhood and found ourselves in the theater district--SOHO once again. On a whim I stood in the cancellations line for The Book of Mormon and since I was first, I got a pair of tickets--7th row! We had a little tapas snack before heading into the show.

Gin and fancy corn dogs!

I have to admit it was such a great theater experience--they had tons of snacks and drinks available for purchase to be consumed during the show (some theaters I've been too wouldn't let you have food in there--I appreciated the ability to eat an ice cream bar!). The show--wow. It was so funny but quite sacrilegious--I'm not even sure what to say more than that. If you are interested--maybe read some reviews before attending. The man next to me left at intermission!
Impromptu theater fun!! 
Afterwards we wandered around and sort of meandered back to the hotel--it was our last night and we had to savor every minute!! 

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London day 3

So you know Forrest is the athletic, outdoorsy, adventurous one and he always encourages me to step outside my comfort zone and join him in his pursuits! On this trip he wanted to do a bike tour and found one of Windsor castle and eton. I agreed because it all looked pretty flat and the bikes had baskets--how hard could it be if the bike has a basket?

Never mind that I haven't ridden a bike in probably twenty years and I have never ever been on one with hand breaks (so ok maybe longer than 20 years...). I was determined that I could handle it. We arrived in Windsor full of excitement and anticipation. It was cooler than expects that day so I wore a really random mash up of clothes, made all the more wild by my Union Jack bike helmet.

 Then the rain started and the dread set in. I was riding a bike for the first time in ages in the pouring down rain. Oh and through a muddy field. 

I thought the field was bad and then we got to the road. With actual cars. Driving on the wrong side of the road. I was seriously terrified. I kept thinking that I would fall off and get run over and never see my Charlotte again. Dramatic much?! We made it to the stopping point for lunch and we seriously tried to quit the tour but we had to go back so we persevered. We ended up right back where we started and we never saw eton or Windsor castle--that involves walking through the rain. At that point we tapped out. No thank you England. We have basically been riding around in the mud and traffic for nothing for two hours and now you tell me we have to do something extra to see the highlights we were promised? Um, just no. We hightailed it out of there--sorry queen--I know the castle was lovely but I'm sure you would rather me and my sopping wet pants not drip all over your hardwoods. You are welcome.

Only descent thing we saw was this mural. All o remember is it was done in 48 hours with spray paint and might have to do with the olympics. 

After a shower we were in much better spirits and took a little side trip to kings cross station to see platform 9 3/4 fromHarry Potter. There was a big line to take professional photos with it so we improvised. 


Next we were off to our food tour and as it was raining again we were kind of dreading it. It however turned out to be fabulous and one of the highlights of our trip! We met some great people, had great food and drinks, and learned a little about the SOHO district in the process. I highly recommend food tours to anyone when they travel--we are hooked!
First stop, tacos and margaritas. Now this is more like it, England! 

What used to be a meat pie--delish--at a gin distillery. We learned lots about the history of gin and I learned to like it! We had a little tasting and it all came together for me. 

Next it was off to an iberico ham shop (that had pig legs hanging in it) for a ham and cheese and red wine tasting! Yum! 

We actually went to three more places--one for tapas, one for Chinese dumplings and tea, and finally a basement bar for desserts and a sweet drink. Not quite sure why I didn't take pictures there!! Oh well! The memories will have to live on forever in our bellies! 


Monday, July 18, 2016

London day two

My "must do" for this trip was to see highclere castle, the filming location for downton Abbey. Tickets were sold out, as were all the tours (except private ones that were astronomically priced). I was devastated but determined. After a little research I found that anyone in the historical homes society could just show up and get in so needless to say we joined! 
We took the train to Newbury and then a cab to the house. I was surprised to see hundreds of sheep on the grounds! 

When we approached the house it was all I could do not to make a complete fool of myself as I was squealing with delight. It's gorgeous!! 


We had a snack on the grounds before touring the house. 

Inside you couldn't take pictures but we got to see all the rooms from the show! 

We also got to tour the beautiful gardens. 
Everything was so beautiful and magical--I hated to leave! 

While we were there we learned that the Bombay sapphire distillery was nearby So we decided to check it out before we left town. 


We got back into London and decided to do a little sightseeing. 
Buckingham palace!

Fortnam and mason department store. W had a lovely snack and drink in their wine bar! 


Obligatory phone booth picture. 

Piccadilly Circus 

10 Downing Street. While we were there the new prime minister, Teresa may took over. 

Big Ben! 

Afterwards we met up with our friend Zach who was there on business. Such a small world! 

What a day!! On to the next! 








 
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