30 May 2009

Caroline Talks About Our Day (See Previous Post!)

Do NOT Forget the Camera!

What a day!  When we left the flat this morning our plans were to go to Dewsbury, eat a quick lunch, and catch the next bus to Heckmondwike to go to the petting zoo.  We got off the bus in Dewsbury and found that it was larger than we thought.  There was lots going on!  As usual, first on the agenda was food.  After a quick lunch we explored the market area with the locals. 

There was a "teacup ride" that Caroline insisted on going on the second she spotted it.  The ride consisted of spinning teacups (which is where you sit) on a platform that also went round and round.  There was no way I was going to be able to spin that much so soon after lunch.  Chad was a trooper and braved the spins for Caroline.  It was so much fun watching them!  This was the moment that I realized that we did NOT bring the camera!  I could not believe that we forgot it…we had been doing so well!  But, I guess it wasn’t so bad to have only forgotten the camera once in over two weeks.

We debated on whether or not to save the petting zoo for another day and just hang out in Dewsbury a little longer, as I really wanted to have the camera with us when we saw the animals.  However, Caroline kept asking over and over “when are we going to see the animals?”  So off we went to the bus station in an attempt to find Heckmondwike.  We got on the right bus, we just didn’t get off at the right stop.  I realized that we had passed our stop so we got off that bus and on another one and headed back in the direction we came from.  Thankfully the driver was very helpful and told us where we needed to get off.  It was also helpful that Tucker was sound asleep in the “push cart” or “pram” and that Caroline had a sticker book we got from the market.

We made it!  (Off the bus and in the taxi and finally at our destination!)  The first stop was to feed the llamas.  Chad fed them and finally convinced Caroline to do the same.  I think it tickled her hand when they took the food from her because she kept laughing.  Rabbits were next and Caroline and Tucker loved them.  Tucker was a big fan as he kept squealing at the cage.  The white rabbit was out so they got to pet him and feel how soft he was.  Tucker also tried to make friends with the Cockatiel, but “Ricky” was not in the mood for making friends.  Tucker put his little fingers through the cage and Ricky quickly gave him a peck to let him know that he was not welcome.  I jumped over to him immediately when I saw the bird’s beak go in the direction of Tuck’s fingers.  In typical Tucker fashion, he was not fazed by this and kept on going.

The turkeys, deer, reindeer, kangaroo and monkeys were all very exciting, but the play area took the cake.  There was a pretty decent playground that the kids loved.  When I say kids, I am including Chad.  He seemed to enjoy the play equipment as much as the real kids.  Had Caroline wanted, she could have had a pony ride.  She loved to look at the pony, but was not yet brave enough to hop on.  The pony got squeals from Tucker, too! 

In the reptile area (this was not a petting part!) we saw lizards, frogs and lots of snakes.  Caroline was scared of the snakes this time around.   About two months ago she did not hesitate to touch a snake.  Once we finished with the pigs, skunks, fish, turtles, porcupine and goats we called our taxi and came home.  It was an odd mix of animals but tons of fun.

I thought that since we did not have the camera to take pictures, I would see if Caroline would help me make a video and tell everyone what we saw today.  If you haven’t watched the video yet, then I will warn you that I was only a tiny bit successful.  Tucker was asleep when we made the video or else you would hear what he had to “say.”  Sorry for the lack of pictures, but lesson learned…Do not forget the camera!!!


Back to Huddersfield

By Friday, I was finally ready to get out of the house!  There was nothing we really had to do other than get a few groceries.  Rather than going down to the Co-op, we ventured to Huddersfield.  Lunch was first on the list when we got off the oh-so-exciting double decker bus.  There was a McDonald's right on the corner and that was Caroline's choice.  To avoid a fight and because we were really hungry, we went to "Try House."  The kids got a happy meal and Caroline ate the fries and Tucker ate the burger.  

We went around to check out some of the markets that Caroline and I had found earlier in the week.  Sure enough, Caroline remembered that there was a Thomas ride and she ran right to it.  She was very excited and even wanted "little buddy" to get on with her.  They loved it, but unfortunately for us, the Thomas rides are everywhere!  We went to a new grocery store, Sainsbury's and got the few things we needed.  You might be surprised at how hard it is to find peanut butter.  We did find a frisbee that we could play with out in the yard after dinner.  Caroline was really excited to see a random statue with a few stairs leading up to it.  She ran over and climbed to the top and then got irritated when we tried to take her picture.  You will see that we also had to take "purse" with us on this trip.  She stopped frequently to look in it to make sure she had everything she needed.

29 May 2009

Gettin' the Sillies Out!

Thursday was a pretty uneventful day.  Tucker seemed to be feeling better, but I was starting to feel worse.  Chad took the kids to coffee at 11 am, and then to the playground.  I managed to go with them to lunch, but didn't feel like eating much.  Naps consumed most of the afternoon and dinner soon followed.  At this point the kids were really getting restless and needed to get out.  I felt a little better after a nap and decided that fresh air would be a good thing.

We went to the football field and let them run and be silly!  You can tell from the pictures that there was lots of silly going on!  After making the usual stop at the goldfish pond, we came back inside and Chad (for some reason!) gave Tucker an oreo.  He made a huge mess.  This picture was only the beginning, as I had to put the camera away and get some paper towels to clean up the mess.  Caroline loved to point out that "Tucker made a big mess!" 

27 May 2009

"Tucker the Terrible" Feels Terrible

Last night, before going to bed, I could tell Tucker was not feeling well.  Within the first hour of being asleep, he woke up three times.  Thankfully this pattern did not continue.  We gave him some medicine and he managed to sleep until 7:15am.  This was a vast improvement from the previous mornings.  I did hang and extra sheet over his windows, as I am certain that the early morning sunshine had something to do with him getting up so early.  Chad went to get him from his crib and brought him back into our bed.  His left eye was "glued" closed from all the goo and his nose could not have been crustier.  He look awful, but was in a really good mood!  I was also not feeling well.  I'm not sure if it is allergies or just a cold.  I knew from this moment that we wouldn't be going far from home today.

Tucker has been very active this morning and has seemed very happy.  We all went to coffee at 11 am and came back and watched some kids' shows we downloaded on Itunes.  As you can see in the pictures, it looks like his black eye may actually be getting worse before it gets better.  Here are the kiddos having a sweet love "moment" while watching Oswald.

26 May 2009

Taking it Easy

Our day started when Tucker woke up a little before 6 am.  This was unheard of back in Tennessee, as Tucker has always been a great sleeper and not one to get up early.  The problem we have here is that the sun rises between 4:30 am and 5 am.  By 6 am, Tucker already thinks he has overslept because it is so bright outside.  Once Tucker is awake, there is no sleeping in for anyone else.  I got up with the kids and played and watched TV, while Chad tried to sleep a little longer.  Eventually we traded and I got back in bed and Chad hung out with the kids.  It was especially tough to get up this morning since we had such a long day yesterday.

While we were getting ready to go have coffee, biscuits and cake in the refectory, Caroline fell asleep.  She was completely out!  This changed our plans for the day, as I was going to sneak out during naptime and go to the store.  So Chad and Tucker went to the refectory and I stayed home so Caroline could sleep a little longer.  I had a feeling that this was the only sleeping she was going to do today so I needed to take advantage of it! 

Chad and Tucker came home, and Caroline and I went out.  We desperately needed some things from the grocery store, but I didn't want to make the 20 minute trek to the co-op.  I decided that Caroline and I would make a trip into Huddersfield via bus.  All I had to say was "bus" and Caroline was ready to walk out the door.  I know I have said it before, but she really, really loves riding on the top deck of the double decker bus!  It is so much fun to watch her point out a million ordinary things that seem ten times more exciting when viewed from the top of the bus.  A blue car!  A tower!  Daddy's church!  Try House (McDonalds)!  A cute doggie!  A man on a bicycle!  The list goes on and on.

Since we didn't have any boys to slow us down, off we went to explore new parts of the city.  Our first stop was the Try House, as I promised Caroline she could get some "tries."  From there we went to several charity shops and clothing stores that Chad and Tucker would not have wanted to go in.  We found two shirts for Tuck, a hooded sweater for Caroline and a purple jumprope.  Caroline also got a candy bracelet for being a good listener when I needed her to get back in the stroller.  It was fun going through the markets, not to mention ten times easier with just one child! 

About two hours had passed and we had not even accomplished our original goal of going to the grocery store.  To the grocery we went!  Caroline was great and surprisingly did not disagree when I asked her to ride in the cart.  I had a backpack on and folded up the umbrella stroller and put it in the cart, so I really needed her to be in the cart, as I did not want to chase her around the store.  Although this trip to Tesco (basically Walmart) went smoothly, it still was not easy.  The wheels on the carts are different than what we are used to, so it is much more difficult to maneuver through the aisles.  Also, there were a ton of people there today.  It was definitely more chaotic than what I am used to at the Winchester Kroger (even on senior citizens day!).  Another challenge, regardless of where you are, is trying to shop in a new, unfamiliar grocery store.  Needless to say, we survived and got everything on our list.  I was impressed that I was able to fit all our goodies (about $35 worth of stuff) in my backpack, and since Miss Independent wanted to walk, I took advantage of an empty stroller and filled it with groceries.  It was a short walk back to the bus stop and before we knew it we were home.

Now for the pictures.  After dinner the kids really needed to get out of the house so Chad took them to the goldfish pond.  As always, they brought me back flowers they had found along the way.  Caroline is always so excited..."We got you flowers, Mom!"  Here are a couple pictures of her in the kitchen watching Daddy, and Tucker trying to see what's going on, too.  I was trying to get a shot of his semi-black right eye.  It is definitely looking better.  I don't know exactly what happened, but I have a good feeling Caroline threw a toy at him in retaliation for him having thrown something at her.  I'm not sure what is on the agenda tomorrow...I just hope it doesn't start as early as today did!

Pilgrimage to Walsingham

At 8 am Monday morning, we boarded the 16 passenger bus and began our trip to Walsingham.  The seminary coordinated the 3.5 hour trip, and since this was on Chad's checklist of things to do, we signed up.  The kids did extremely well on the bus.  I was a little nervous because I knew it was going to be a long ride with no stops.  The bus was full, as there were seminarians from the College of the Resurrection and few monks from the Community of the Resurrection.  

The following is quoted from Chad's blog, walsinghamwanderings.blogspot.com (for more information and a better explanation of what Walsingham is, please refer to his blog.):  "Walsingham is an adorable, quaint English village complete with pubs, bookshops, and plenty of images of Our Lady.  The Shrine and surrounding grounds have recently undergone reconstruction and everything looked brilliant."

The kids and I were ready to explore but we had to keep stopping so Chad could take pictures.

Caroline ran up the hill yelling, "Mommy crosses, look at the big crosses!"

This picture is really to see the callalillies in the pot behind us. I had never seen them growing, only already cut in arrangements.

Caroline sat quietly watching the procession. She was fascinated by the protestors as well.

This is where the service took place.  Chad's blog can give you the details.

After the service, we hit the pub for lunch.  Tucker found a new friend.

Caroline insisted on watching the "cute boys" play pool. This lasted for probably 30 minutes. Fortunately, they thought she was pretty cute, too!

Chad and Caroline outside of the shrine.

This was at the very end of a long day! Caroline was getting silly and kept trying to get in the fountain.

We really had an enjoyable time, as the weather was perfect!  The only issue was that during the service, the priest would not give Caroline and Tucker bread during communion.  Tucker didn't seem to care because pretzels taste better anyway!  However, Caroline had a total meltdown because she wanted bread.  After trying to comfort her repeatedly, we let her cry and didn't worry about it.  Chad and I were not happy that they did not give her bread, especially since she put her hand out asking for it.  Once we got back on the bus, the kids fell asleep almost immediately and the rest was history! 

24 May 2009

Beautiful Day

Today was the first day since we have been here that it has not rained.  It has been beautiful all day- 70's, sunny, not a cloud in the sky!  Although we stayed at home today, we have been busy.  This morning Chad took the bus to Halifax for church and the kids and I were lazy.  Actually Chad left pretty early so there is no way we would have been ready.  He also took the camera so I have not taken any pictures today.  Sorry!

About mid-morning, Tucker and I were dressed and ready to go outside and play.  Caroline, however, did not want to get dressed and go outside.  Finally, we have a warm beautiful day and she wants to stay inside. Go figure!  At about this moment, when I was ready to drag her outside in her pajamas, she said to Tucker," Tucker, we have the best mommy."  That got her an extra five minutes to get her act together.  I can't remember how we convinced her to get dressed, but we finally did.  I let her be the leader in our "adventure."  This involved Tucker and me following Caroline where ever she wanted to go (on the college grounds).  We wandered down the path to the back of campus where we stopped at the football field.  It is a wide open space where they ran and ran.  We played ring-around-the-rosie, tag and pretended like we were horses.  Tucker found a large stick (really a limb) that he could barely pick up, but insisted on dragging it as far as he could.

With no stroller in sight, we continued on the path and stopped at the goldfish pond.  Tucker and Caroline threw sticks and rocks in the pond, as Caroline was convinced that they were feeding the fish.  This worked out just fine until Tucker realized that he could put his hands in the water and splash.  I decided that it was time to move on!  We then went to see the chickens.  Tucker has only seen them from the stroller so it was time for a close up for him.  I had to stand right beside him because he was seconds away from sticking his hand through the wire and getting pecked.  Caroline and I agreed that the chickens were extra stinky today!  Back home we came for lunch and naps.

Tucker had a great 3 hour nap, while Caroline only slept for about 45 minutes.  In the meantime, Chad came home and we put some laundry out on the line.  Caroline was a big help with this task.  She did a great job handing me the clothespins when I asked.  Tucker woke up and we spent some time right outside our flat near the garden.  Brother Thomas was working in the garden and Caroline was very curious about what he was doing.  He taught us about the different things he was growing and why he was pulling the weeds.  It didn't make sense to Caroline that he was pulling out some of the "plants."  The most exciting thing in the garden right now is the impending strawberries.  They are supposed to be ready in 2-3 weeks.  Tucker was most interested in the dirt, mud and shovel.

Back to the field we went with Daddy to play some more.  This time we took a ball to play with.  We enjoyed not having to jump up every moment to catch a child from running away.  They actually stayed pretty close to us as we were busy looking for airplanes and listening to the birds and trains go by.  I think Caroline began to say she was hungry so we went home for dinner.  After dinner Caroline helped me take the clothes off the line and put them away.  It was so nice to let the clothes dry outside rather than lay them on every available surface in the kitchen.  

Sorry we do not have any pictures for this post.  I will definitely have some after tomorrow.  We are taking a bus trip with the seminary to Walsingham.  It is going to be a long day, so it may be Tuesday before I post again.

23 May 2009

A Day Out With Thomas

What a day!  After a 25 minute walk to the train stop, 20 minute ride to Leeds to switch trains, 25 minute ride from Leeds to Ilkley and then a 15 minute open air bus ride through the English countryside, we finally reached our destination: Thomas the Train Heaven.  It was Thomas everything!  There were about a million small children that were totally in love with Thomas.  Of course we had to join in the fun!  The Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway put on the Day Out With Thomas three times a year.  It was really neat, just took forever to get there.

Here is the antique bus that was chartered just for this event.  They gave free bus rides from the train station to the Thomas event.

Here we are before we got blown away on the ride. Not only that, I got hit in the head by a branch on the back country road. The things I do for our kids...

Thomas bounce house!  Caroline and Tucker both loved it and laughed the entire time they were in it!

Caroline on the recycled toy ride. Her favorite was the pink (faded red) car.

The green train was just Tucker's size.  

Chad volunteered to ride with the kids on this little train.  It went about 15 yards down the track and then back.  The kids liked it even though we did not think it was that exciting.  (Chad was a little disappointed!)

We rode the antique trains from one station to another. This was our view for most of the 15 minute ride. Sheep, sheep and more sheep.

Caroline and her new boyfriend, Joshua. They instantly took to each other and played and danced while on the train. They even held hands...it was so cute!

Once we got off the train, Joshua got on this ride. Caroline was right behind him! She jumped right up without even hesitating. 

Thomas the Train ... need I say more?!?!

Caroline got a turn tootin' Thomas' horn.  She also learned about the coal and the steam engine.  Well, she knows that it is HOT, and that may be about it.

Here is the old train station at Embsay where we "met" Thomas.

Back on the train ... brother and sister checking out the sheep.

We got back on the bus to head home and Caroline spotted some potential friends. Their Mum was reading to them and Caroline got right in the middle.

22 May 2009

Play Day

Yesterday I did some research online about what there is to do for kids in this area.  Chad also did some research by asking the cleaning ladies.  They suggested several indoor soft play facilities.  I found numerous soft play places around here, which makes sense because it rains so much.  This morning we went to Fizzy Lizard in Huddersfield.  Caroline and Tucker practically squealed when they saw it!  It was lots of fun!  The kids played and played and played.  There is a cafe just to the right of the play area.  Chad and I ate lunch and Tucker and Caroline took a bite here and there.  Caroline got stuck at one point and looked at the little boy next to her and said "Help me, boy!"  He looked at her like she was crazy.

Once we thought the kids were finally tired, we left and went to TK Maxx.  This was a new one so we decided to check it out.  Tucker was tired and fell asleep right after we left the play place.  Caroline, however did not feel the need to sleep.  We got a steal on a couple of cute dresses for her.  Unfortunately, the little boys section wasn't so great.  We did get Tuck a little pirate ship with four pirates.  The idea was that they could share this toy.  Apparently, they don't have the same idea as I do.

We went to a little shoe store after that and found some wellies for Caroline.  It is a good thing we did because as I write this, Tucker is crying because Chad just fussed at him for throwing Caroline's tennis shoe in the toilet.  He didn't stop there...he just threw his tennis shoe in the toilet, too.  I guess he is living up to the name the lady at the church gave him last week- "Tucker the Terrible."