Thursday, November 17, 2011

Proper pints with Guz

Dear Grace,

We were fortunate to have one of your Daddy's best friends from our home town visit us. He extended his business trip in order to stop in for a couple of days to see us in London. This fellow Munster Mustang grew up a few blocks apart from Daddy and stood up as a groomsman in our wedding. He was there days after you were born to meet you with Christina, his sister who is also a good friend of mine growing up. You were able to see him at your condo in Chicago and now at your flat in London! Talk about good times with good people. We're looking forward to seeing him a bit more often now that he's moved from California to Indiana. Thanksgiving?  

Love, Mummy and Daddy 

P.S. I now have a love/hate relationship with our neighborhood lamb doner after hanging out with these clowns. 
Can you tell that Nicholas played football back in the day?
Hanging out in front of St. Paul's Cathedral. 
Some of your first steps on the steps outside the cathedral. 
The view back toward St. Paul's from the Millennium Bridge...aka the Harry Potter bridge.
Waiting for our Thames River cruise from the Globe Theater.
2 things that will forever remind me of 'the Guz' and make me smile.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kew Gardens

Dear Grace,

One of the places I've wanted to check out in London was Kew Gardens. As I've met random people and started chatting about the beautiful gardens, everyone always asks if I've been there. When we got back from our trip with the Nierengartens, we had a free Sunday, and decided to head that way. 

As soon as we hopped off the tube, we immediately started falling in love with that pocket of London. It felt like we had arrived at a completely different place and it was so quick and easy to get to. It had such a village feel with charming restaurants, pubs, and shops. The leaves had started changing colors at this point which made the ambiance even better. 

The size of the park itself surprised both your Daddy and me. We weren't expecting it to be as large as it was. It was a very kid friendly place, which you and I discovered even more when we went back with the Blossoms. The greenery, flowers, ponds, palace, Queen's garden and holly bushes were gorgeous. Inside the green house was very hot and humid, but really interesting. Over 20 setts were created for kids to explore and see how badgers live. After walking around in a couple circles, the Blossoms and we stumbled upon both an outside playground and an inside soft play area that reminded me of being on the set of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. The Treetop Walkway looks really fun and may be an excuse for us to go back. We didn't have time to do it all, and climbing the 100+ stairs didn't make the cut of things to be done while we were there both times. Enjoy! 

Love, Mummy and Daddy 

P.S. They even had peacocks!!!!!
What a cool building for a restaurant. 
playing with the timer on our camera...
Chillin with Daddy...
Peacocks make me happy! :) 
Their colors are GORGEOUS
Daddy and I had a great make out session standing on the bridge overlooking this pond...It was just one of those moments we want to remember forever! 
The following series of pictures of you was our attempt at showing off your new pearly whites. Since this day you have cut many more teeth, totaling 6 at this point!
Holly bushes were everywhere...not to mention the colorful Fall leaves!
A few pictures from inside the greenhouse. 
The End.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Online Storytime {FREE}

Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered Barnes and Noble's online storytime. They have animated books read by the author(s), illustrator and sometimes even famous people! The best part is that it's FREE

Currently there are 14 books available to listen to and a new book is added the 1st of every month. They have a great selection mixed with classics and newer releases. Somebody was thinking when they set this up, because it automatically keeps reading the next book until you hit stop. 

I thought this was a creative and different way, other than me reading, to incorporate literacy into our house. And Grace LOVES it!
Grace's current favorite: Where the Wild Things Are
I don't think it will ever get old watching daddy/daughter moments like these.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dublin, Ireland

Dear Grace,
The final stop on our European vacation was Dublin, Ireland! You can thank the O'Connor family for our last leg of this journey. Your Grammie Mo's maiden name was O'Connor, which is a very Irish name. Out of all the cities we have visited, the people in Dublin are the warmest and most welcoming. Even though the city was very dirty and of course rainy, the people had the best sense of humor. Enjoy!
Love, Mummy and Daddy 
Since the first day was a travel day, we were all in the mood to start off with lunch and a Guinness. We stumbled into a charming restaurant, called The Bank on College Green. At one time it was the main banking hall and we were able to go downstairs to check out the original vaults and Chatwood safes. The staff was exceptionally friendly and welcomed you immediately into their restaurant. If you look really close at the safe you're trying to break into, it says Grace Church Street London. 
Our first touristy stop was checking out Trinity College. We thought the buildings were neat and it was a pretty campus, but we were sad that we weren't able to get inside the library to see the Book of Kelts. Daddy and I were persistent and tried three different times. They had hours posted on the door, which they didn't follow.
It was then time to hop on a double decker tour bus for our group. We drove around inside the warm bus while it was rainy outside and didn't hop off until we arrived at.....
...the Guinness Brewery!
Daddy and I have had the pleasure of touring several breweries. The Guinness Brewery and their tour blow the others out of the water. We have enjoyed a complimentary beer at the Budweiser Brewery in St. Louis, MO, the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO and the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO.  
"A bottle of the house white please." Thanks, Grammie Mo for the hilarious bib!
Everyone else finished the tour with a delicious glass of Guinness from the top bar of the brewery overlooking the city of Dublin. 
Pictures of the beautiful St. Peter's Church and Christ Church in Dublin, Ireland.

Scenes from the Tudors T.V. series were filmed in the basement of Christ Church. It was very dark and eerie, and had a tiny museum, cafe and gift shop.
As we arrived at the Dublin Castle we made it to the right place at the right time. We were not only there in time for the last tour of the day, but we also bought the very last tickets. We had a wonderful tour guide who took us around the State Apartments. 
I spy Grace hiding behind something blue...
Conor O'Conner, our concierge at the Brooks Hotel, made our Dublin experience that much more spectacular. He genuinely made us feel that he wanted to know how we were doing, and if there was anything we needed. He seemed to always be looking out for you as well. From the moment we introduced ourselves to him, he remembered all 6 of our names. At breakfast he would join us at our table for a moment to ask about the rest of our evening and he even lent us his personal umbrella to make sure you stayed nice and dry during the day. I love meeting genuinely kind people who love their job and who are passionate about life. Thanks, Conor, for providing such a positive experience for us from our hellos to our goodbyes.
Grace, the name Connor (spelled a little differently) holds a special place in our hearts. If one day we are blessed with a brother for you, we would love to name him Connor after the O'Connors from Grammie Mo's side of the family. 
Goodbye, Grace. 
Love, Dublin, Molly Malone and the funny Leprechaun man. 
If you aren't familiar with Molly Malone, her statue is in the above picture and you can listen to the traditional Irish song below. 

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