Happy Thanksgiving! We started our day volunteering at Operation Turkey, delivering Thanksgiving meals to those less fortunate. It was such a great experience, and the kids and I decided we would make it a tradition from here on out.
Later in the afternoon we were invited to my good friend Celeste’s house, where her fiance made a full turkey dinner for the four of us. It was so delicious, and so thoughtful of them to invite us over so I didn’t have to worry about preparing anything.
This year I am thankful for my amazing kids, friends, family, new traditions, and the support we have all around us. When bad stuff happens, good people just come out of the woodwork to show they care. It’s a really amazing thing to experience.
We decided to get away for the weekend to try to have a little fun, after all we’ve been going through lately. We met up with my BFF Katie and her crew at the Renaissance Festival! Overall we had a good time. Chloe had a hard time because their dad used to take them there a lot, but we got through it. Life is going to be full of moments like that, where things just don’t feel the same for them. All we can do is power through and take things one step at a time….
The kids and I went to Houston this weekend and had so much fun with my BFF Katie and her gang! They put us up at the Marriott Marquis and we got a lot of use out of the awesome rooftop pool and enjoyed a little bit of the city. We also saw Aladdin and did a lot of eating out! It was just what we needed before the last week of school!!!!
I left the kids in Michigan (see previous post!) to drive to Chicago. It was my friend Holly’s birthday weekend and a bunch of us met there to surprise her and go to a Def Leppard/Journey concert at Wrigley Field!
We also took some time to explore the city a bit, squeezing into Ubers, hitting the Field Museum and the Hancock Sky Lounge:
I also got to see my dear friend Nicole and her family, though we didn’t take pictures. We really need to get better about that!
Chloe celebrated her birthday at the roller rink with a bunch of friends. My BFF Katie and her daughter Ashlyn also made the trip to Austin for it! As is tradition, I made her cake and gave her a birthday experience vs. “stuff” (tickets to a Houston Dynamo game)!
Happy New Year! My cousin Jamianne took us to breakfast at Wolseley to start the day. Apparently there are lots of celebrity sightings there, but we had no such luck. From there we headed to the Tower of London for the Beefeater Tour! Very cool.
Things were crazy around our hotel today because it’s located right across from Trafalgar Square, which is a really popular place for New Year’s Eve partying. Because of this we headed back to do some shopping in the area (Covent Gardens). On the way we swung by Buckingham Palace, which is literally right down the road from our hotel!
While out shopping, we asked someone to take our pic at the cool phone booths here, which I’ve been trying to do all week!
The New Year’s Eve party was a bust but it was great people watching and it was nice to ring in the new year together. We left after the fireworks and are currently enjoying our sandwiches in bed (thanks to Katie for thinking ahead and ordering them to go earlier)!
This is unfortunately the end of our journey, as we head back to the states tomorrow.
Today we took a tour outside London to see Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford.
Windsor was amazing but we were given strict instructions that the bus would leave without us if we didn’t get back on time. We got stuck inside the castle behind a very slow-moving group and when we finally got out we literally RAN ACROSS WINDSOR CASTLE to get back to the bus (again, I cursed myself for canceling my gym membership). Like, weaving in and out of strolling tourists… we were sprinting.
But we made it. With 1 minute to spare.
Then we went to Stonehenge, which was really cool, followed by Oxford. Did you know Oxford University isn’t one university? It’s a collection of 38 different colleges. It was hard to get pictures there because it was dark. At 4:30.
I have to say we were a hit with the tour guide. He sat us up front and while I assumed it was because of our fun personalities, Katie said, “He probably thought, ‘I could look at them ALL DAY.’”
(She’s very modest.)
He had way too much fun picking on us. He told us laughing was not allowed at the castle, to which I replied, “Oh, we’re screwed,” and then we burst into hysterical laughter. He then gave us a children’s entry ticket to Stonehenge.
After the tour we did a bit of pubbing, and made a new bartender friend, who was 24 (awwww…). He told us about his previous night of partying at a club and said, “It’s probably not your kind of thing. Even IIIII feel old there.”
We’re Instagram friends now lol!
Tomorrow is our last full day here and we plan to make the most of it!
We started our day at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was absolutely beautiful. We couldn’t take pictures inside, but we trekked up about 528 stairs to the very top and we were able to take some pretty great pictures of the views from up there. There were a couple moments I was a little fearful for my life (narrow/short/steep staircases in a few places caused a bit of anxiety, and I cursed myself for canceling my gym membership a few months ago!), but we made it… and it was awesome. Cold and windy, but awesome.
Then we walked across Millenium Bridge to see the Globe Theatre. We couldn’t go inside but it was still cool to see the theatre I taught my students about in person! On the way back we almost got attacked by a pigeon and I managed to get it on camera. We have come close to being hit by a pigeon SEVERAL TIMES. Those of you who know me well know I hate birds, so… yeah. Not cool.
From there we worked our way over to the Tower of London, but we got there too late for the tour so we’ll try again this weekend. We got to see the Tower Bridge a lot closer, though!
We continue to navigate the tube like a boss!
Oh, and do you like my new hat and scarf from my cousin Jamianne? So fun!!
After that we did a little shopping and pubbing. We have learned over the past few days that bars close early here (like 11:00… maybe because it gets dark at 4:00)! We’ve missed some great pub opportunities because we have been getting there too late. Today we started our own “pub crawl” early (like 5:00)! We have made quite a few new “friends” hanging out in the pubs, which has been cool. We even helped one woman plan her vacation to the states!
Tomorrow we head to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford! It’ll be an early morning so it’s time for bed! Night!
We started our day today at Westminster Abbey. We couldn’t take pictures inside but it was spectacular! When we walked up the guide said, “Let me guess… Americans?” We asked how he knew and he said, “I watch a lot of Cops. Whatcha gonna do?” (which sounds way cooler in a British accent). Of course we joined in and sang the rest of the song. Yes… in Westminster Abbey. Because we’re classy like that.
Katie is upholding her local status wherever we go, as today a Londoner asked her if he was on the right platform. Of course out came a resounding, confident, “Yes!” and then I said… “Are you sure?”
After Westminster we met my cousin Jamianne Trerice for lunch at the Victoria and Albert museum, which was great! I hadn’t seen her since I was a kid, and I got to meet 2 of her daughters! Katie and I explored some of the museum, which had some really cool displays. We had some fun in the theatre section and even found some New Year’s Eve hats!
Finally, we ended the day with a BANG. Hamilton.
Absolutely, unbelievably amazing. We can’t stop talking about it. We laughed, we cried (I ugly cried)…. Katie gave it 5 stars because, “Not once did I think, ‘Is it over yet?’”