Sunday, July 15, 2012

Erv and Nancy Come to London!

With all my first trimester exhaustion and general bleck-ness, I haven't been able to blog about our big event in early June - my parents coming to visit! They flew here as soon as my mom got done with school for the year and arrived on the third day of the Queen's Jubilee weekend. 

We kept so busy while they were here and when Charlie and I had to take rest (because he is 3 and I am pregnant) they would take off on their own and go see more! My parents have strong public transportation skills, especially after visiting my sister Meredith in Brooklyn last Christmas. They got around London like it was no big deal. 

We saw a lot of sights and ate some fantastic food (most of which tasted so good I didn't care what my stomach was saying) and did a little shopping. 

We checked out the Jubilee festivities on the day they arrived, walking around Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and St. James's Park. That evening Brad took my dad to the pub across the street from us for a beer.... and there was an unexpected performance of Handel's Messiah. What that has to do with the Queen, I'm not sure. But they really enjoyed it! 
One of the day trips I'd really been wanting to do, but saving for their visit, was to take a boat tour on the Thames to Greenwich. Greenwich has one of the last surviving clipper ships in the world, the Cutty Sark, that reopened in April after a 6 year renovation. We were able to tour it and the Maritime Museum, which had some really neat exhibits and a kids room for Charlie to play in. 
We also introduced my parents to the greatness that is Byron Burger. As if they knew we were coming, the special burger of the month (in honor of the Queen, of course) was a spicy chile burger. My dad felt right at home! 

Brad had to work the next day (actually 3 days) so we got some lunch and my mom and I took Charlie to Southbank Centre to ride the carousel, eat ice cream and play at the playground. 
My mom, Charlie and I met up with my dad at the Imperial War Museum, thinking we were just going to pick him up and head home.... but when Charlie saw the lobby filled with airplanes, tanks and trucks, he got so excited we had to stay for a while. Not a museum I had originally considered for Charlie, but a big hit all the same!
My dad also went up to the Royal Air Force museum and thought it was even more impressive than the Imperial War Museum. Do you see a trend in the types of museums my dad enjoys??

While he was doing that, my mom and I took Charlie to Harrods for lunch and to run around the huge toy rooms. This is Charlie's ultimate way to spend an afternoon. I checked out the maternity section, but of course they had nothing that would work for me at such an early stage.

After I showed my mom the Harrod's food hall, we agreed we needed to take Dad back there. The food halls at the major department stores in London are like giant gourmet grocery stores. They have anything you can imagine: produce, meats, fresh fish, cheeses, breads, pastries, coffees, chocolates, ready-made food.... it's amazing. Foodie paradise. Brad took Charlie for their special morning, so we had a French breakfast and checked it out!
Later on Saturday the Spooner clan was tired, so my parents took off to see St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe and some famous pub that a friend of my mom's used to work at. These attractions are on the other side of the river, but my parents went down and back on the tube no problem! 

We got a babysitter for Saturday night and all went to dinner to celebrate Brad's birthday. Earlier in the day we had a German chocolate cake for him (mix and frosting brought over by my mom from the states!) and sang happy birthday. Charlie loves celebrating birthdays and helped blow out the candles!
Sunday my dad and Brad went to the Churchill War Rooms and to lunch while my mom and I took Charlie on a picnic and to the playground at St. James's Park. The weather was of course not great, but we sat outside and got ice cream cones anyways! Because it was June dangit!

Monday was my dad's last day and I am trying my hardest to remember what they did! British Museum? At some point they went to Winston Churchill's favorite cigar shop, I remember that! I took Charlie to school and was ready for a nap by the time we got home. One thing I remember about that phase of pregnancy was my eyes burning a lot from being so tired.

We had a fun French dinner out in Chelsea the night before my dad flew home. It was very traditional French food - even had Crepes Suzette for dessert! It was a really fun way to end his trip.

Charlie got so upset the next morning when my dad left. My mom was staying another week - I don't know what would have happened if they had both left on the same day! Each time we would come home to the flat, he would ask where PawPaw was. We would tell him that he had to go home to Dallas to take care of Odie (my parent's shih tzu) and Charlie would say he wanted to go to Dallas too! How can you argue with that? Kid's been homesick for a while! 

Anyways, it was a great visit and we fit a lot in. Charlie loved having PawPaw come visit!  And my dad even managed to sneak a few cigars home! 

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