29 June 2019

I Have a Crush on the Pool Boys

I spent the rest of spring break hanging poolside with my pool boys.
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They earned a well deserved popsicle break.
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Cheers!
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28 June 2019

Meanwhile Across the Pond

With our big kids in London for spring break, I took the littles to Arizona for some sunshine and relaxation. It just so happened that Troy had a conference in Scottsdale that week so I met up with him for a couple of days while Crew and Finn stayed with grandparents. I didn't complain about sitting poolside with my laptop one bit.
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Once Troy headed back home, we did our traditional day at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale.
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We also hit up the Fountain Park which is just the right temperature in April.
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A week with only two kids felt both relaxing and empty. We kept forgetting that Blake and Nash were across the pond when we were getting ready to leave for outings. We missed them like crazy but also enjoyed some quality time without domineering older brothers!


25 June 2019

London

For spring break, Blake and Nash went on an epic adventure with their grandparents. Troy's parents decided that they wanted to take each of their grandchildren on a trip when they were old enough to appreciate it. When they found amazing deals on flights to London, they snagged them up and decided to take Blake and Nash together instead of individually. 
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We spent a good portion of Easter Sunday getting them all packed and ready to go. They set off bright and early Monday morning on a quest for the first stamps in their passports.
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They made sure to pose by my favorite frozen yogurt shop at the airport.
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And then they were off on an 11 hour flight. The report was that they loved the built in entertainment consoles where they watched lots of movies, texted people in other seats and followed where they were on the world map. They slept very little.
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They never quite got over the jet lag but they did like sleeping in real beds after that long flight.
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Since I wasn't there I don't have much commentary to go along with the photos, but I do know that they covered a lot of ground in London and filled every minute with experiences and all forms of transportation.
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They kept busy with lots of games.
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They spent their first full day at Warwick Castle.
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There were signs of spring but it was quite cold the whole time they were there.
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There was an entire peacock garden on the castle grounds.
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They explored Harrods, a five floor luxury department store. Nash found a chocolate egg as big as his head.
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Next on the agenda was the Tower of London. It was cold enough to add scarves to their apparel.
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They were entertained by performers outside the castle.
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Next to the Tower of London was the magnificent Tower Bridge.
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They stopped for some ice cream before their final event of the day.
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They were lucky enough to see their first broadway show in the theater district. They both loved all of the mechanical animals in The Lion King and tried to figure out how the actors operated them.
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Apparently bedtimes were pretty rambunctious because the jet lag didn't make it feel like night time, but both boys reported that their favorite part of the trip was when they got back to the hotel each evening and laughed about all the funny things that had happened. Their grandma read Sherlock Holmes in attempt to settle them down.
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They got to watch the changing of the Queen's Life Guard.
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They also witnessed a parade with the Queen's Life Guard that was replaced. 
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At the Royal Mews, they saw many carriages for the Royal Family.
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They made their way to Hampton Court Palace.
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Blake and Nash never pass up an opportunity to play a game. They took a break to play draughts (checkers).
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Outside the Hampton Court Palace was The Privy Garden.
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So many beautiful flowers to see despite the cold temperatures.
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They saw several statues at Trafalgar Square.
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The National Gallery was a real highlight. Blake and Nash's grandparents were surprised at how interested they were. Blake was shocked that there were so many paintings that they couldn't even see them all. Nash learned about the shading process for paintings, and said, "If you go close to the painting it doesn't look like a painting but if you go further away from it, it looks better." 
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They got to do their own brass rubbings while at The National Gallery.
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A little walk through Kensington Park.
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They didn't go on the London Eye but they posed in front of it.
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They also went to The British Museum and the Natural History Museum, but what stood out the most was Hamley's toy store, the oldest and largest toy shop in the world. It was the closest they got to the "Queen."
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I heard so many stories about the different foods they tried and their funny dining experiences. There was one dinner where everything was dropped and they laughed and laughed about that one.
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One major highlight of the trip was on their last day in London. They snagged the last remaining tickets for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.
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They were immersed in the world of Harry Potter and loved every minute of it.
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There are only four places in the world where you can get authentic butterbear, so Blake and Nash were pretty excited that they've been to two of them including Universal Studios Hollywood and England's Warner Bros. Studio.
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Eighty-six people built the 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts. If you added up all the man hours put into building and reworking the model, it would come to over 74 years.
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The boys ended a magical day and a magical trip at the wand shop.
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I was dying to see them after 8 days and they did not lack for stories about all their adventures. I almost feel like I lived through it myself! They displayed their brass rubbings and collections of ticket stubs and souvenirs.
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After the trip was over and the boys were fully absorbed back into school and activities, their grandma gave them an amazing keepsake. She made them both a detailed book filled with photos, memories, quotes and history from the sites they visited.
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The pockets in the front of the books hold memorabilia and she wrote them each a sweet message on the title pages. 
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Countless hours went into planning and documenting this once in a lifetime experience. The boys pick up their keepsake books often and thumb through them, reminiscing and laughing about the memories they made.
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The quotes on the back cover sum up their adventure to London well. Blake and Nash were so happy they had each other and got to experience everything together. I'm sure they wore out their grandparents but it was truly a trip of a lifetime and we will forever be grateful.
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