Archive for the ‘Kids!’ Category

Some “old” friends at the bus stop

So this past week, the kids started back to school. Just like all parents worldwide, I was MORE than ready for school to start. Even though they had an abbreviated summer because of the different school calendars in Ireland and the US, they were well ready too. Ready to see old friends, ready to buy fresh supplies and ready, as the 8yr old said, “to maybe even make some new friends”. One of the joys of being a kid is that the same person can actually be an old friend AND a new friend. Three months is a long time when you are a kid. It’s almost like dog years. I’m not even sure why we don’t count it this way. “How old is little Jimmy?”, “Why, he’s 4. But that’s in human years. In kid years, he’s 37, of course.” And the other parent would nod knowingly. Because they change that much in a very small space of time. If 3 months is a long time to a kid, imagine what 2 years is like. This is the amount of time we have been gone from the States and from our neighbourhood school. As we started the school year up and the kids began meeting their teachers and seeing their classmates for this year, I realized that we were having a totally different time experience. To me, 2 years flew by and it’s almost like we never left. I see the same parents in the classroom, the same teachers in the hallways, and to me the same kids, albeit bigger than they were when we left. But to the kids, they all seem like strangers for the most part. If not all together strangers, then distant acquaintances that they maybe met at party a while back and just can’t place. Two years is a HUGE percentage of their life and the younger they are, obviously, the bigger it is. For the 6 year old, it was 1/3 of his life so far. He was four when we left. And even though he has a girl in his class this year that he spent ages 0-4 with in daycare, he can’t even remember her name each day. I’ll say, “How was SoandSo? Was she at school today?”. He looks at me blankly and says, “I don’t even know who that is, Mom. ” He might was well add “Duh!” in there at the end, because he is clearly thinking it. For the older two, they do remember a few key friends, but even those have changed and aged and seem new and exciting. Which is a good thing, I guess. I was worried about it all being a let-down for them after the excitement of being expat kids. But so far it’s been great. And weirdly familiar. Kind of like an cocktail party for Alzheimer patients. “You’re a handsome devil. What’s your name?”…….


1st Day of school 2013-2014 (Look how dark it is! It’s EARLY!)

August 12, 2013 - Posted by gothamfamily

Since we had not really spent much time in London itself the last time we took the kids to the UK (8 hours?), I decided to do a proper London trip for Feb midterm break. Also, Sophie is in the throes of a serious Harry Potter obsession. I had heard that the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studios tour, just outside London, was great. It’s where they filmed all the movies and they’ve turned it into an “experience”. It’s not a theme park, as it is not that big and there are no rides. But it was worth checking out. Plus, I wanted to take them to a show, ride the Tube, maybe see Tower of London.

For the first night we were there, I had bought tickets to the Lion King. The kids had no idea what it would be like and kept asking me if there were going to be real lions. Since I had seen it years before (before kids) back in L.A. I knew enough to get good seats, right on an aisle, so that when they come down the aisles from the back of the theater in the opening number we would be right there, up in the lions’ grills. The kids were blown away. And the London theater was fairly small compared to where I saw it in L.A., so we were even closer than I had imagined.

We stayed just off Piccadilly Circus, which was a big hit with the kids, day and night, and made it easier to get around. It was especially convenient to get up the second day and catch the tube to head out to Harry Potter World, as we started calling it. You have to take the tube to a certain station, where you can connect with the Midlands regional train. On the tube, we sit down and Lincoln loudly professes that he loves this train and he doesn’t want to get on the second train when the time comes. I say, “oh, so this is the best train in the world, huh?”. “No. Because this train doesn’t have a buffet.” “No trains have buffets.” “Yep. Yes they do.” “what train?” “The one with Daddy in Switzerland had an awesome buffet. THAT is the best train in the world.” All the people around us started cracking up. Harry Potter World was well worth a visit and even a big hit with the boys who haven’t read the books yet and only seen the first two movies. It was well organized and full of interesting movie and Harry info. Definitely a must for kids of a certain age.

The next day, we hit the Tower of London. It really is impressive, with all the buildings from various ages and its proximity to the Tower Bridge (which most people wrongly thing is the London Bridge). There were lots of guns and armor for the boys and the jewels were a hit with everyone. As we were passing through the umpteenth room of treasure in the crown jewels section, which has the aura of a library, John leans over and stages whispers, “think these people had enough gold??” On the way home , coming up the Tube escalator, Linc didn’t get off at the top and the man behind him sort of had to push/pull him. I really fussed at him about the dangers of not walking off an escalator, especially a crowded on. Then he says, “I was STUCK!!”. Sophie exclaims a few minutes later,” look at Lincoln’s shoe!”. He really was stuck: the escalator had taken in the front of his shoe and eaten it.

Our final night, we bought some last minute tickets at one of those brokers around Piccadilly. Since it was Valentines, the pickings were slim. But there were tickets to Stomp. I had never seen it and I thought that the kids would really be into it. If I had thought the Lion King theater was smaller than expected, I was in for a shock when we got to Stomp. We were in the next to last row in the balcony and I still felt like we were on top of the performers. The funny thing was the kids’ reactions. It wasn’t at all what I expected. Ten minutes in, Linc layed across my lap and fell dead asleep. I mean, mouth open, circle of drool on my skirt, dead asleep. And this has got to be the world’s loudest show. Sophie was mildly interested, but nothing like how she was into Lion King. John John couldn’t sit still he was so excited and loved it so much. Every time I looked over at him, he was grinning ear to ear and drumming in the air and bobbing up and down in his seat. He LOVED it. Half an hour before the end, Linc woke up and was like, “Can we go? Stomp is WEIRD. I do NOT like it”.

The final day we only really had a half day, so we hung around the hotel and went to the pool that they had inside. On the way up, I got a text from Big John that I had been expecting: he was in the lobby. Today he was whisking John John away on his Dad-trip. Since January, he had been taking each of the older kids on a trip with him alone. Sophie was first, heading to Rome. A few weeks after, Linc went to Switzerland to learn how to ski. John John had known he was going to be next, but not when. His wish list for location had been “somewhere I’ve never been before, warm, adventure, and soon!”. So….they were headed to EGYPT!! I knew John John was going to flip. I told him that we had to stop in the lobby on the way up from the pool since I needed to ask the front desk a question. He kept trying to convince me to let him go onto the room alone. Finally, he sees Daddy in the lobby and it clicks in that this just might have to do with his surprise! The grin on his face was classic.








February 22, 2013 - Posted by gothamfamily


Since we had such a great time in Paris last Feb with Annie and Jack, we decided to go for an even longer trip this past fall midterm break. Knowing we were headed into a long, wet and dreary winter in Dublin, we opted for some last sun: Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are part of Spain, but are geographically much closer to the African continent, lying just west of Morocco and Western Sahara. We opted to stay at a Starwood property, since we could pay for our rooms through a combo of points and cash. It also looked to be a good setup, with a spa for the adults, lots of pools, and a kids club that would really appeal to the ages 4-10.



It’s about a four hour flight from Dublin, but with no connections to make, it is quite easy. We got there in time for lunch by the pool. The weather was iffy, with several days being a complete washout with downpours. But we were saved by the kids club and the spa. Plus, I think Annie and I have limited expectations. Relax, don’t cook, don’t clean, get a few massages, a few drinks, and some fun time with our kids. That’s exactly what it was. Another bonus was that there were lots of other families there and by the end, our kids had made lots of vacation friends. This wouldn’t be the best place to hang out as a couple (at least not during school breaks) but with kids, it was brilliant. It ticked all the boxes for this particular trip: great kids club that included activities in the evenings, spa, great buffets, and a gorgeous setting. Many of the other families (mostly British) were very grumpy about the weather. For some reason, it just didn’t bother Annie and I. Yes, it would have been great if the sun had come out more, but I don’t think it would have made the trip any more enjoyable for us. Just our tans!








October 31, 2012 - Posted by gothamfamily