Monday, April 16, 2012

Bonnie England

At Trafalgar Square (Lord Nelson monument behind us)

There was an egg hunt all around London for Easter
 Though I said I'd post an update about England right after my last post, obviously its been a few days :) I accidentally planned a bridal shower for a couple of days after we got back in New Jersey and the rest of the time we've just been sort of in recovery from the week. Par example: Levi is on his third hour of a nap that began at 5 p.m. tonight. I'll have to wake him up put him to bed at his normal bedtime.

Anyway. First off, everyone's wondering: how was he on the flights? Answer: surprisingly good! On the way there, we took a red-eye flight, so he mostly slept. Granted, it was six hours instead of his normal ten, but he was surprisingly resilient about staying asleep even though the plane lights were on for most of the flight and every time there was turbulence I had to take him out of his little baby seat and hold him buckled in my lap.

On the way back, he wasn't nearly as good but a) Levi not nearly as good is still pretty calm and b) there were three other babies on the flight, so it was just par for the course. On the way home, he got confused about sleeping because many of our passengers left their window shades open, and even though we flew for 8 hours and landed after midnight on British (Greenwich Mean Time) time, it was daylight the whole flight. Levi slept a bit when we first got on, amidst some tears, and a smidge bit toward the end of the flight. The rest of the time he played with toys, peekaboo and threw things on the floor for us to pick up over and over again. So overall, he was great, but also overall, completely exhausted after each flight.

Playing at Grammy and Grandad's
Now, as to what we did in England: ate lots of food. Went for walks. ate some more food. oh, and drank lots of tea. Its amazing how natural it seems to start drinking tea a half-dozen times a day when I only have it when I'm sick at home.

We stayed with Tim's uncle Colin and auntie Ann. Tim's parents were also there during the first part of our stay. We spent time visiting Tim's grandparents who lived down the road and playing Granny's favorite game: scrabble. We also saw his various cousins and had a big Easter dinner on Sunday. We introduced his family to Dutch Blitz, and spent most of the afternoon playing it -- after the Easter egg hunt outside of course.

With Uncle Colin
While there, we spend time visiting the local (flea) market, walking some of the nearby hills and even getting some home-made ice cream from a local farm. It did almost rain on us directly after the ice cream - being early April in England and all, but it was delicious! We also explored the local town of Wimbourne, walking through the church there (Wimbourne Minster) and seeing all the tiny shops and boutiques in the main section of the village.

On Easter Sunday, Levi was slated to find the yellow eggs in the garden (yard) of Tim's aunt's house. Levi's...cousins (Tim's cousins kids), a three year old and five year old girl, were slated to find all the purple, pink, blue and green eggs. Levi got the concept of putting the yellow eggs in his basket really well, though when we tried to video tape it he put his sock in the basket instead...

At Covent Garden, an outdoor market
After a few days with Tim's family, we continued our trip onto the London portion - we got two free hotel nights in Kensington with our flight tickets, and spent some time walking around the city. I forgot how compact London really is - we saw a good bit of the major sites on the west side of the city in only a few hours over a couple of days. Levi mostly slept in the ergo Krista graciously let us borrow, but woke up for a few pictures here and there!

We also took time to visit Warner Bros' studio tour recently opened north of London, full of actual sets, props, costumes and authentic butter beer from the Harry Potter movies. It was SUPER exciting.
The quintessential telephone booth

Tim in front of Westminster Abbey
Levi and I in front of Buckingham Palace
Tim from farther in front of the palace, with the monument and a thousand yellow tulips
With the London Eye in the background, on the Thames (one of Levi's top ten places to nap)
At St. Paul's Cathedral, where we got engaged
The great hall set of Harry Potter
In front of the staircase to Dumbledore's office
Driving Mr. Weasley's car
In front of the larger than life chess pieces from the first movie
No 4 Privet Drive
Diagon Alley set
The enormous model of the castle that was used to make all of the soaring shots
After walking through some of Harrod's
In Hyde Park
Kensington Palace is in the background

Getting ready for our last tube ride
And now we are back on home country territory, still getting back into the swing of things. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Standing manvation

This will be the first of two blog updates: one mainly about Levi and the other mostly about our recent trip to England!

Where Levi is concerned, he's working on being a standing man. He's been pulling himself up to a standing position for a couple of weeks now - apparently I was one of the last to witness it. He's never been one to want to practice walking, or seem to understand what we're trying to do by holding his hands and trying to make him move his little feet. But the past few days while he's been standing, we've been practicing letting go to see if he can stand on his own. and today, twice, success! For about a second but he's learning to balance!

He doesn't edge along anything by taking little steps while standing and holding onto something, but he'll get there soon I'm sure!

Tim has also declared that "dada" is Levi's official first word. Levi regularly has conversations, usually when he's excited about something, almost entirely consisting of "dada," "mama", "baba" and the like. Dada is the sound he uses most consistently, sometimes when Tim is around, but often when he's not. so. There's no official proof Levi equates it to Tim. Though mama is his least-used regular sound, and he seems to have no idea that it could be related to me.

We call Levi Bubba a lot, and he's seemed to make a sound sort of like that recently. He also says a phrase like "ayaya" which seems to mean "feed me more NOW." He uses that one a lot :)

As demonstrated by our recent vacation - he generally put down as much food as I did at a general meal. The time change threw him off, of course, but it was most likely that he wanted yet more food every couple of hours than needed a nap when he was fussy. Even without dairy, eggs or nuts (Tim's allergies) and peanuts, he gets an intense amount of food in his little tummy.

Speaking of tummies, though Levi has my skin and hair, he might have been born with Tim's digestive system. Not food allergies, we haven't discovered any yet, but his processing of something when his tummy might hurt. My system works to get rid of any problems quickly and painlessly. Tim's? Not so much. Levi, the last couple of days we were in the UK, went a couple of days without pooping, which he hasn't done since he started eating solids. and rather than a big explosive diaper, which we were expecting, he had a couple of normal, if small, poopie diapers. to lull us into thinking maybe he just hadn't eaten as much for a couple of days. not the case - crazy - change on the bathroom floor because no other surface can handle the mess, diaper right before our second day of sight seeing in London. and I said "you know, that's kind of weird - you wouldn't have thought he would have had a couple of normal diapers before this one - you'd think it would be the other way around." Tim just shook his head and said "not if he's got a system like mine." Only Levi is always so happy unless he's hungry or tired - his tummy probably hurt and we didn't even know.

Today I've spent most of the day holding the poor boy while he switches between dozing and crying - time change = not so fun. We had an eight hour flight yesterday which landed at 7:30 p.m. EST, and we got home around 11. But at that point, it was 4 a.m. GMT, where we were coming from. Levi only slept for a total of two hours the whole flight (which landed after midnight in the timezone we were coming from) and then slept for a couple of hours on our train and car ride back to our house. and then was up at 6:30. yes. so today was a catch-up day. Me on laundry, him on sleep :)