Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Happy Tears.

Have you ever been in a really sad situation and suddenly something so funny happens it changes your whole outlook on the day. Well, last Friday was one of those days.................Very sadly The Husbands father passed away a couple of weeks ago and last Friday was the funeral. The first part was in a very large church followed by a cremation at a much smaller chapel about 20 minutes away. The service was sad and happy all at the same time as lots of friends and family members that we hadn't seen in ages turned out to pay their respects.

After the first service we shook hands, hugged and chatted to all the lovely people that has gathered there. Then it was time to head off to the chapel for the cremation.............This is where it all went slightly wrong.......I should tell you all at this stage that we had moved away from the area 13 years ago to East Sussex so our sense of direction was a little hazy.

As The Husband and I held hands and walked back to our car we talked about how the sun had come out in time and the rain had stopped. He was visibly shaken by the whole experience and I held his hand tightly not quite knowing what to say. Once in the car the reality of getting from one church to the next in 20 minutes took over and here is what followed.......

The Hubby (TH)..."Which way do we go?"
Me.."Ermmmmm......Oh my god...My mind has gone blank....Ermmmm...try that way"
TH..."Are you sure?"

We then engaged it what I can only describe as a scene from The Streets Of San Francisco, weaving in and out of traffic, flying over speed bumps and generally driving very erratically. After 11 minutes we were still no nearer to where we needed to be and it was looking very much like we were going to miss the whole thing.

TH..."I am NOT going to miss this...We ARE going to get there" he said
Me.."OK...OK....Just slow down a tiny bit" I replied trying desperately to hang on to the contents of my stomach. I declined to tell him at this point that I needed a wee as we flew over the sleeping policemen.

Suddenly a familiar road and then "There...there...go down that road...its just there" I screamed. He followed my instructions and we turned into the Cemetery with 1 minute to spare......"Crikey" he said "We've beat everyone else...even the hearse".

It was at this point that it all came flooding back to me........This didn't look anything like the place we had cremated my Grandparents "Noooooooooooooo.....Nooooooooo....This is wrong....This is the cemetery not the crematorium"I nervously said. It wasn't that we were the first to get there or that we had missed it, it was in fact that we were at the wrong place. "Its the next road down" I cried. As we wheel spinned out of the cemetery, it felt like an episode from Only Fools And Horses which was his dads favourite show.

I cannot repeat what The Hubby said to me at this point other than it wasn't very polite.

However, we did make it with 30 seconds to spare and the tears that were shed afterwards were ones of laughter as we sat back in the car in hysterics. "My dad would of loved that" he said "I can just imagine him laughing his head off at the pair of us".

At the time when I thought I was going to either throw up or wet myself it seemed to be a complete disaster but now when I look back it was probably the best thing ever to happen. The Hubby got through the rest of the day smiling and chatting about the old times spent with his dad and I looked on with love and pride at my gorgeous brave man.

As we raised a glass later we started to laugh again at how a very sad day turned out to have such a funny ending. I guess its what often happens in those situations, my Mum says its a mixture of being overwhelmed and relieved all at the same time.

One things for sure though.........I don't think The Husband will be asking me for directions any time soon.

Lots of Love

This blog is dedicated to My Father In Law and My Husband for being the best Dad and Hubby ever.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

New York Diary....The Final Day.

Day 6.....Our Final Day.

As we opened our eyes it struck us all that this was our last day and in 11 hours we would be in the air on our way back to England. The kids were excited about having another week off, The Husband was excited about giving his wallet a rest and I was .........Well, I was........Dreading the flight home. However we still had all day and I was going to try and put it to the back of my mind for as long as I could. The hotel had been super nice and said that as they weren't busy we could leave the room at 2pm instead of 10am.

We decided to go for one last big breakfast at what had become our favourite diner "Astros". A family run Italian/American place just down the road which served the best pancakes I had ever tasted.

The Teenager wanted to take some more photography and the boys were desperate to make their breakfasts go down before the taxi ride to the airport.

We took one last walk down 5th Avenue and marvelled at the rich doing their shopping with actual people/personal assistants carrying bags and boxes to cars for them. "One day" the Hubby said "When we win the lottery, we will come back here and have a good shopping spree" he teased.

All too soon it was time to go to the airport and we began our taxi ride to JFK. I have to say it was a better ride than the first one but that was mainly down to me telling the driver that the kids would throw up if he drove to fast. Once at the airport I was relieved the plane was on time and before I knew it I was sitting on the jumbo jet waiting to take off.

The plane journey was going well....Too well.....And at approximately 2 hours from our final destination my worst nightmare happened.....The captain put the seat belt sign on.....Oh my god....Oh my God....Calm down....Get a grip.

The Husband woke up as the air hostesses ran about waking people up and checking they had their belts on. I grabbed his arm and shut my eyes awaiting what was about to come, luckily the kids stayed asleep as the plane bumped around through the turbulence. After about an hour I noticed the hostesses getting up and carrying on as if nothing had happened "Is that it?" I asked the Hubby "Looks like it" he replied. "Well done you for not freaking out" he reassured.

I had done it.......I had taken a deep breath and conquered one of my biggest fears. To say I was slightly proud of myself was an understatement and I felt like I had climbed a huge mountain. We cruised into Heathrow without any other incidents and touched down beautifully with a slight bump as the wheels met the tarmac.

And that my friends is that....Our New York adventure was over and we were home safe and sound. I will never forget the looks of amazement on the kids faces as we took in the first sights of America and the smell of Manhattan. We have laughed until our sides hurt and felt incredible sadness at Ground Zero as we read all the names of the poor souls that died. I asked everyone to name one lasting memory of their holiday and this was what they said.......

The Husband......Looking down 6th Avenue for the first time and thinking how it looked like a slice had been taken out of Manhattan.

The Teenager.......Meeting Lady Ga Ga albeit a wax one.

The Whirlwind.....Finding a burger bigger than his head and seeing a Red Panda.

Mine......Mine was easy....It wasn't a place or a memory, it was a simple one really.....Mine was just being on a great adventure with my 3 favourite people in the whole world.

Thank you for following our journey and I hope you have enjoyed it.

Lots of Love

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

New York Diary..Day 5.

Day 5.

After Larry and Clare had checked out we hoped and prayed nobody else would check in.....WRONG!!!! We now had a family of 4 from the deep south who sounded like the family from The Nutty Professor. In fact I was convinced Eddie Murphy was in there doing all 4 voices. They were even louder than Larry and Clare and proceeded to whoop and howl at the basketball they were watching. Instead of getting stressed about it which I would of usually done I figured that there was no way there would be any "Special time" as the kids were in there and just laughed hysterically at the whole situation. They sounded like a family I would of loved to of met and hung out with and anyone who knows me will tell you that within 20 minutes I had their voices off to a tee and proceeded to mimic them for the rest of the day. The best bit was when we met them as we left and they were every bit as brilliant as I had imagined. What a shame they hadn't been in there for our whole holiday I reckon we would of opened the adjoining door and had a great laugh. Turned out they were in New York as they belonged to a gospel choir and even joked that they must of sounded like The Klumps to us.

Anyway, today was my day and I had chosen a place I had always wanted to go to but had not had time when I had come before.This place had been on my bucket list and I was determined to make it this time......We were off to.......Central Park and more importantly The Zoo.

We headed off to the park (managing to dodge Johnny Cash who was still yelling at us to have a free ride) and immediately felt a sense of space and trees once we were inside. What a totally beautiful place it was, I couldn't take the smile off of my face the whole way round. We found the fountain from the opening sequence from Friends and watched as a man proposed to his girlfriend on one knee. Everyone cheered and clapped and I honestly had a tear in my eye as we watched on.

After a good couple of hours we decided to find the zoo........This proved a bit tricky as we couldn't find the entrance. Little did we know it was back where we had come in and a long walk followed.The Whirlwind began to get Denim chaffing and The Teenager moaned that she couldn't feel her feet.

As we walked a man approached us trying to sell us his CD, it was at this point reality left the building and we found ourselves in the tricky situation of being confronted by a rather large man holding a stack of Cd's. We tried to say no thank you but we were alone in a street with 2 kids and he was very persistent. I must admit my imagination ran away with me and I had visions of being mugged, shot and ending up on Fox News at 10.

However what actually happened was very different, he was a real a character and thought he was the next Puff Daddy, he referred to me as Muma Luv and The Husband became Big Daddy which the kids found hysterical. We somehow ended up giving him $10 and making a hasty retreat as he shouted after us what a great family we were.

Once in the zoo we wandered around still laughing at what had just happened. I was slightly disappointed that there was no lion, zebra, hippo or giraffe like in Madagascar but the animals that were there were super cute. The Whirlwind made friends with a Red Panda and remarked how it liked him because they were both ginger which made the whole crowd laugh. It was quite strange how it only looked at him and followed him around as he walked round the enclosure but this anomaly was solved as we realised The Whirlwind had a bag of pretzels hanging out of his backpack.

Big Daddy and the kids went into the 4D theatre and I waited outside as they give me a right headache. I sat in the sunshine watching the world go past and wondered what it would be like to live here. My mind wandered and smiled to myself as I thought of all the funny people we had met here, then..........."Hey....Its Muma Luv" a familiar voice dragged me out from my dream state.......It was him again....The man with the Cd's. He was walking past the zoo and had seen me sitting there "Oh..Um...Hi" I replied. He then stood the other side of the small fence chatting away to me for what seemed like an eternity before suddenly grabbing his bag and running off with a cheery "See Ya Muma, have a good day". I saw the reason for his quick departure......2 Police officers........I pretended to be on the phone just in case he was one of Americas Most Wanted and they thought I was associating with him..............Alcatraz here I come.

After all the excitement of the day we walked to FAO Schwarz and had our picture taken with Iron man....Not the real Robert Downy Junior one.........But never the less Iron Man. The kids got a teddy each which were adorable and we even managed to get a few sweets we had never heard of over here.

We walked home and laughed as the kids played hide and seek in the trees..."Love you Muma Luv" The Husband said, "Love you too Big Daddy" I replied with a wink.

Come back tomorrow for the last instalment.

Thanks for reading
Lots of Love

P.S Here is the adorable Red Panda who loved The Whirlwind pretzels or not.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

New York Diary...Day 4.

Day 4.

Our American friends checked out this morning and had one final "Love session" before going. I instructed the kids to be as loud as they wanted and even turned up Lady Ga Ga on the Ipad, before accidentally on purpose throwing a suitcase at the adjoining door. As we left, so did they and I gave them the type of look only a mother would give. They in turn looked mortified and practically ran down the hall to the lifts. Bless them (I'm only jelous).

We were off to Tussaud's today as The Teenager feeling very disgruntled that she hadn't bumped into the real Lady Ga Ga wanted her picture taken with a wax one. The Whirlwind complained that he hated the creepy wax figures and we had done it in London last year so why did we have to go again.(We still laugh at the fact the only figures he wanted his picture taken with were Stephen Hawkins and Gandhi). I explained that if he did Tussaud's we would go next door to the Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibition straight after, this seemed to work and we headed off.

Once at Times Square we found it easily.....Then we saw the queue.....It must of been 100 people deep and a slight groan echoed from every ones mouths. "Never mind" I said cheerfully "It will go down quickly, come on". We went to the back and stood waiting patiently, I tried my best to engage the kids but any mum or dad reading this will sympathise with me. Once they get over the age of 11 Eye Spy just doesn't really cut it and I received "the look" from The Teenager when I suggested it. After 1/2 hour of not moving forward The Hubby decided he would go and ask how much longer it was going to be. On his return I noticed a strange smile on his face....."Errrmmm.......This is the queue for the bus tour....Not Tussaud's" he whispered to me........."What" I yelled back, "Yep...There is no queue at all for Tussauds, we can just walk straight in"................ARGHHHHHHH!!!!!

I decided not to tell the kids the truth and try and earn some street cred back after the eye spy fiasco, informing them that we could go straight to the front of the queue as we were from England and they had been so well behaved standing for so long. I'm not sure if the eldest believed me but I was certainly not going to correct myself.
Both exhibitions were brilliant and we all really enjoyed it......Some more than others!!!!!

On our way home The Teenager decided she would quite like a Yankees hoodie and The Whirlwind wanted a cap so we headed on in to The Yankees store. I remained outside as The Northern Mother had phoned to check up on us. After what seemed like an eternity I popped my head round the door and discovered the kids lining up to pay and The Husband standing watching the baseball on a huge TV in a slight sport coma induced state........Bloody Typical.

We had dinner at Applebees (which The Husband assured us was mentioned in a film he had seen). Great restaurant and very kid friendly, food was immense and I even had 1 of my 5 a day by having green beans....Trouble was they were deep fried.....Think I'm just going to go with it from now on.

We then had a slow walk around Times Square which was amazing at night time all be it very busy and very slightly intimidating with all the people dressed up as characters who then expected money after having your picture taken with them. Luckily we had our very own 007 escorting us.......Think he had also enjoyed Tussards a bit too much as well..........

Think we will sleep well tonight.
Come back tomorrow for Day 5.

Thanks for reading
Lots of Love

P.S....The Whirlwind finally got his chance in a yellow cab......And The Husband couldn't say no this time. x

This post has been published a day after the Boston Marathon bombings. My thoughts are with all those that were injured and lost there lives as well as the families of those that have been affected by this terrible tragedy. God Bless. xx

Monday, 15 April 2013

New York Diary...Day 3.

Day 3.

Today was Monday and we all awoke after a slightly disturbed night due to Larry and Clare having extremely loud "Special Time". I was glad I had kept all the earplugs from the plane and made everyone shove a pair in to save any embarrassment. I had decided that if it happened again tonight I was going to knock and have a discreet word with our American neighbours.

Today was slightly different as we were splitting into boys and girls teams, myself and the Teenager were off shopping for prom stuff and the boys were off to The Natural History Museum and The Intrepid aircraft carrier exhibition. We walked together for a while and got accosted by a man trying to sell us a horse and carriage ride round the park, The Husband did his best at ignoring him but he was very persistent and practically followed us all the way down the road eventually telling us we could have the ride for free. As we said our final "NO THANKS" he told us to come back once we had ditched the boys and to remember his name.....Johnny Cash............"Yeah" said The Teenager, "and my dads Elvis".

Once we had said our goodbyes the boys headed off (still walking at this point, no cab was being hailed). Myself and The Teenager got our map out and made our was to 5th Avenue at which point she remarked how we would definitely find some prom shoes here.........I explained gently that unless Donald Trump was going to pop down from his tower and declare us his 1 millionth visitor giving us $100,000 there was no way she was getting anything from this Avenue. We decided to hail a cab and make our way over to Macy's then Bloomingdale's then the shopping mall. Shoes, clutch bag, clothes, more shoes and sunglasses were purchased (all by her) and I ended up buying myself........A keyring.

By 3pm we realised we had only eaten cupcakes all day (not a bad thing) and found a salad bar to have a late lunch. I must admit I loved it being just the 2 of us shopping in New York and was super impressed we didn't get lost once.

Once back at the hotel the boys arrived back with The Whirlwind declaring that "Dad has made me walk all the way back AGAIN" and promptly dropping his trousers revealing a terrible case of Denim chaffing. Poor kid was not only exhausted but in agony too.
Feeling bad The Husband announced that if we wanted room service and a movie tonight then that was fine. We all jumped at the chance and settled back to watch The Hobbit whilst stuffing our faces with Macaroni cheese, hamburgers and chicken wings........................I am not confident we will fit on the plane home at this stage.

Another great day in this wonderful city had been had by all and we were all exhausted but extremely happy.

Come back tomorrow for Day 4.

Thanks for reading
Lots of love

Sunday, 14 April 2013

New York Diary...Day 2.

Day 2.

Today was The Husbands day and he had a jam packed itinerary for us. First was Ground Zero which was thoroughly moving and we all felt very sad whilst looking at all of the hundreds of names engraved around the edge of the memorial waterfalls.

We then walked to see the Statue of Liberty which proved to be a jolly exciting moment for The Whirlwind as he had always wanted to see her ever since Ghost Busters the movie.
At one point I had to practically rip The Teenager away from some very dubious looking man who was selling sunglasses from a sheet.....any excuse to shop.

Then we were off to Wall Street where I suddenly realised that my toe was really hurting, not only was it hurting it was bleeding too. I leapt into full mummy mode and found a pharmacy purchasing some plasters and a pair of toenail clippers as I feared it might of been my little toe nail digging in. (I must explain at this point that I am not some grungy women who allows her toenail to grow to extraordinary lengths.) I have a very unfortunate little toe that looks like a little alien stuck on the end of my foot, it has a horrible little nail that sometimes digs in to my next toe.
Once my suspicions had been confirmed I found a suitable place to snip and cover my wound. Unfortunately I chose the steps of the Husbands company to do this medical procedure and only realised this as we stood up to leave, he then worried that they might of had face recognition and would get sacked for defiling the company steps by showing my alien toe......I put this moment of insanity down to the fact he was still in some type of shock about the taxi ride.

We stopped at a Diner for lunch and ate our entire body weights in pancakes, bacon and maple syrup. The Whirlwind commented in a very loud voice that "Its a good job we don't live here or else we would be as fat as houses" it was at this point a sudden hush swept over the Diner as all eyes glared at us......"Check please".

Grand Central was next (I wonder if you are exhausted reading this as we were walking it) and I had to remind the kids there wouldn't be any wild animals running round just in case they were expecting a scene from Madagascar the movie. The Whirlwind was hoping to see the famous clock stuck on a giraffes head and a hippo dancing around.

The New York Library was next and they both stood at the top of the steps actually hugging each other...This city is having a remarkable effect on them. Actually looking at this picture I now see that he is hugging her....At least she is smiling.
As we arrived back at the hotel after walking the whole way home (Hubby was doing anything not to get in a cab again) we hobbled in like we had just run the marathon with no training. The kids were moaning, I was moaning and The Husband was elated at the completion of his agenda.

Finished the evening off with a foot soak before going out to a gorgeous place for dinner. Whirlwind was thrilled when his burger was bigger than his head and The Teenager was overjoyed at no only having free Wifi but the waiter asking her if she was a model.........The Husband at this point muttered something about cheesy lines and proceeded to shoot him filthy looks all evening.

Day 2 had been exhausting but brilliant and I could not wait to get on with the next day.

Come back tomorrow for Day 3.

Thanks for reading
Lots of Love

Saturday, 13 April 2013

New York Diary.. Day 1.

Yippppppeeeee !!! I said out loud as we landed in the good old U S of A. I wanted to be excited about our forthcoming holiday, wanted to join in with the kids enthusiasm and should of been getting butterflies in my tummy but all I could think was "Thank God that plane journey is over".

The 7 1/2 hour flight had felt like 4 days but I had made it.....And, I had made it with no tears. This had been mainly down to being upgraded for no apparent reason other than they had to fill the business section and the Hubby had a shed load of air mile thingys. And what a difference it made, nicer seats, pillows, many complementary drinks and a big newspaper that I always find impossible to read as its so large and flappy.

The flight was completely smooth with no hint of turbulence which I convinced myself was because we were in the "poshish" section. As we landed and began our departure of the plane I had this overwhelming urge to thank every air hostess that I could clap eyes on....A bit like when you have a baby and you feel the need to invite the midwives for dinner and feel they should be godparents to your brand new little bundle just because they helped you push a human out of your Minnie Ha Ha.....

As I reached the door I felt the need to express my thanks once more and said to the final air hostess "Thank you so much, it was a lovely flight, I'm usually terrified and that was the best plane ride I have ever been on" (I probably waffled on much much more than that as The Hubby shoved me from behind to hurry up) The hostess replied "Yeah funny that me too"..................WHAT!!! What the hell did that mean???? Was it just a fluke we had made it and was the flight on the way home going to be horrific????? Why would an air hostess say such a thing ???

After pulling myself back from the brink of a nervous breakdown I threw myself into the best holiday ever and even managed to forget the forthcoming flight home.

Rather than boring you all with lengthy memories in one go I am going to do a Blog type version and break it down into little chunks over the next few days.

Day 1.

Hailed our first yellow cab, journey involved being driven at the speed of light dodging in and out of traffic and included much slamming of brakes. The Hubby gripped the seat whilst checking the kids seat belts several times.
On arrival at hotel The Husband and Whirlwind had to sit down for 5 minutes to regain some colour in their cheeks and make sure the entire contents of their stomachs didn't suddenly appear before entering the hotel.

Room was great aside from an adjoining door to the next room which housed 2 extremely loud Americans who may as well been in with us.
By the time we went out we knew that he was called Larry and she was Clare and they were staying for 2 nights (this was as long as he got his head out of his ass and helped her unpack apparently according to Clare). Left the room to go exploring hoping they stayed angry with each other all night and didn't feel the need to "make up" later on.

Went to Times Square and found the Diners Drive Ins and Dive bloke of the telly (Aka Guy Fieri) restaurant to have dinner. Had our first taste of America with the most enormous dinner ever and encountered our first "Are you from Australia" comment from the waiter, not sure why they think we are from there but its something that tends to happen a lot. I then decided that it was because we were not talking like Wills and Kate and for some strange reason only known to me I then adopted her accent for the remainder of the trip.

We then had a slow walk back to our hotel to unpack and have baths etc etc....... Although we had landed at 12 midday it seemed like we ha been here forever and I was going to enjoy every minute of it.

Come back tomorrow for Day 2.

Lots of Love