Saturday, May 16, 2009

London calling

Yes, we went to London. Murray got a wild hair to visit London and started fare-watching. He found some good tickets, we called our friends Alexa and Rupert and away we went for 4 days. It was incredible fun! I was skeptical, but it far exceeded my best expectations. As usual, my brilliant husband is the master of fun.

We contacted our old church, St Paul's Ealing, and they agreed to do Sam's christening. Alexa and Rupert Broad, along with Stuart Carlisle, agreed to be his godparents. What a lucky little guy! Stuart couldn't make it to London, but two out of three isn't bad.

Alexa and Rupert graciously hosted us - they're a wonderful family. They have three boys - Max, almost 5, Zach, 3 1/2 and Sebastian, 6 months. Here we all are.

Natalie is ooooh la la in love with Max (and Zach is in love with her!). She's a princess, Max is her prince, Zach's a knight and Sebastian and Sam are the courtiers.  From time to time, she would shriek "I need some space!" and run upstairs but they had a great time overall. 

Picnicing in the back garden

Max and Natalie at Brighton Pier
All three big kids at Brighton

The adorable babies

Originally, the one hitch in our git'along was Sam's passport (the lack thereof), but nothing a trip to the Passport agency in Boston couldn't fix. That was Tuesday. Thursday Sam and I went to pick it up (it would be there after 4 pm but the office closes at 4:30 - I had to get the timing right), we spent the night in Boston and flew out early Friday morning to arrive in London that night. We were greeted at the airport by Alexa's smiling face - what a welcome sight. We were prepared to travel on the Tube but so appreciated her ride. 

The boys were asleep when we arrived so the next morning we met Sebastian and got reacquainted with Max and Zach. We all went to our neighborhood park for a pick-up game of soccer (football to them) then did a walk along the Thames. Lots of energy with 5 little ones! And when they melt (and they all melted at some point) it's a circus. We ended up catching a bus home and we sat in Natty's favorite seats: top floor, front window.

Sunday was Sam's christening, a pub lunch and baseball in the park. We'd brought the boys Red Sox baseball bat and ball and had a great time knocking it around. And Peking Duck take-out from our favorite place for dinner. I had been craving it since we left and it was as good as I remembered. Yum.

Monday was a blast - a trip to Brighton Beach! Rupert took the day off from work and Max took the day off from school. We rode the Tube to Victoria Station and took a train to Brighton. We ate fish and chips on the beach and Murray went swimming (!!!).  The Pier was fun even though most the rides were closed due the high winds that day. 
The best part for me was the hot, fresh doughnuts we got. Light, hot, sugar coated: amazing. 

Then home again! The flights weren't bad - after biannual AK-CT trips, a hop across the Atlantic is totally doable. Natty was stellar - she takes it all in stride. Sam slept most of the way over in his bulkhead bassinet, but was awake and partying on the way home. 

It's been non-stop since we got back - Murray's medical school reunion in NYC, Sharyl and Bill were just here visiting, Teal and Sophia arrive tonight and Kevin, Mary, their 4 yr old and 18 month twins arrive Monday. Oh, and I volunteered for Coffee Hour at church today. As usual, I hopelessly over-catered for it, but now we have lots of snacks for guests! As Murray would say, "Just another stop on the good life express"