This past couple of weeks has marked a bit of a watershed for me – for the first time in over three years, I went on an international trip – on my own! I used to travel all the time, both with my job to conferences and with Matt on wonderful holidays. But since having the children, we’ve prefered to holiday in the UK – favouring cottage holidays to long haul flights. Many people manage it, but I can’t quite face the thought of a lengthy flight and jetlag with the kids until they are both old enough to watch movies/play games for the entire flight!
So last weekend, I jetted off to Atlanta for four nights for a work conference – leaving the children in the care of daddy (and their grandparents who dropped by for part of my absence to lend a hand!). I got myself quite worked up at the thought of leaving them for so long, having never really been away from them – and contemplated not going. But, though my departure was a bit teary, it all went swimmingly.
I did laugh at the first message I received when I landed back at Heathrow – Matt telling me that “he’d done it – the children had survived, the house was still standing and his in-laws were still talking to him”!! But they didn’t just survive – they seemed to have an excellent time. Matt started his weekend of solo parenting with a very brave trip into London to the Natural History Museum and Science Museum – and the kids LOVED it of course.
Here’s Sophie fascinated by the geological structures of rock (!):
Sophie and Alex were excited to see their grandparents – here they are snuggled up with Grandpa on Saturday evening:
On Sunday. they made the most of a lovely Autumnal day by making a trip to Godstone Farm. They managed to spend over an hour in the softplay, Sophie now old enough to properly explore the excellent toddler area. I understand they did also manage to see some animals too. Here’s Alex looking a tad bemused by a bunny rabbit:
And getting very excited showing Grandpa some geese:
Safely back home, Sophie discovered the little chair that was mine when I was a little girl – she loves to climb, and has now figured out how to get in and out of the seat. Love this blurry but very happy pic:
So I needn’t have worried – they clearly were absolutely fine without me! And I must admit, I slightly surprised myself by how much fun I had in the USA. It was such a treat to get some true “me” time that I made the most of every second. In my one day off before the conference got underway, we managed to cram in vast quantities of Southern cooking (including a proper breakfast of grits, eggs, turkey sausage and biscuits!), the amazing Georgia Aquarium which has FOUR whale sharks in it, my spiritual home – “The World of Coca-Cola” and a very speedy shopping spree 🙂
You can see my pic here if you are really interested…. but read on below for more tales of Family Agar
Back home in London, and over the jetlag and annoying autumn colds we’ve all been suffering, we’ve had a fun weekend. Yesterday, we headed over to East Dulwich to stock up on popcorn and brownies from the Saturday market. And more importantly, purchased Sophie’s very first pair of shoes! She has tiny feet – size 3F! She was very well behaved in the shop – although wouldn’t pose for the “first shoes” card Clarks make for toddlers! Here is her pic anyway – she’s looking so grown up (and really needs a proper haircut!)
After lunch, Matt and Alex headed off to Surrey Quays to the cinema to see “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” – which seemed to go very well. Alex watched the entire film, although I understand decided to change seats a number of times!
Sophie and I headed up to the King’s Road for a spot of shopping – I have so many birthdays to buy for this month that we got a bit of a headstart without the boys around. And I actually started my Christmas shopping. Scary.
Today, Matt had some work to do, so I took Alex and Sophie to the Horniman Museum for a few hours. It was a brilliant surprise to bump into an NCT friend and her two children in the aquarium – so Alex had a blast playing with his friend Max, and I had a great lunch companion! Here are the boys demonstrating that it is never too cold for ice cream:
And Sophie very chilled out on the second trip around the aquarium showing off her lovely, purple new shoes:
Once we’d exhausted the museum and gardens, we headed back to Herne Hill to meet daddy for a trip to the Herne Hill market (and more chocolate brownies!) and a wander around Brockwell Park. Matt and Alex made the most of the fact the miniature railway there is now closed for the winter: