Monday, November 28, 2011

Hampton Court Palace

Hey! How've you been?

All of the vacation dust and Thanksgiving dust is finally settled, the Xmas dust has yet to be fully kicked up, and I finally have time to get down to what's really important: mah blog.

I'm going to gloss over the "10 hour flight with a toddler" bit (We lived. It wasn't as bad as it could've been, but it wasn't "fun" by any means) and move right on to Hampton Court!

We spent the first four days of our trip staying at Hampton Court Palace, which is kind of an odd thing to do, but I've written about it here and here for reference. Basically, thirteen years ago, my parents rented an apartment inside the Palace via the Landmark Trust as a special, one time only anniversary present to themselves. They've gone on to rent it again pretty much every year since, and I've joined them staying in the (four bedroom) apartment for quite a few of those years. The apartment is in the Tudor section of the palace, just off the Tudor kitchens in "Fish Court". While staying at the Palace, we have the run of the (purportedly very haunted) courtyards at night, access to the full palace and grounds during the day and a cozy, comfy place to call home for the duration of our stay. It is awesome.

Hampton Court really was an ideal place to stay with a toddler. Rhys had the run of the grounds, which was fantastic for him (and for us!), we had a kitchen and a little fridge which made meal and snack prep easy and we had access to HCP's amazing custody staff who we've become friends with over the years, one of whom even brought a few of his grandchildrens' toys for Rhys to play with during our stay. We felt right at home!

As for the jet lag . . . it existed! Rhys woke up at 3am once or twice to sing songs and ask for apples. He is a happy baby, even when he's all turned around time wise. I had expected we'd have to wrestle him awake from too-long naps during the day, but we never did. He was a trooper, I think he adjusted easier than I did myself, to be honest.

Some highlights of Rhys' first visit to the Palace include his first taste of scones with cream and jam (heaven!); running around the landing of the Queen's Staircase at night and giggling at the echo of his voice in that cavernous room; first tastes of crisps (cheese and onion got a thumbs up, but it was a no go on salt and vinegar), English sausages, Wagamama chicken and Jaffa Cakes and puddle stomping in his new red rocketship wellies.

Highlights for Mama include all of the above plus being told Rhys has "a little American accent", a meander trough the Hampton Court Antiques center and a long walk to The Bell pub, and a few quick solo photo sessions while the Meyers napped.

Boy and I also spent one evening out on our first date since Rhys was born. I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed by that, but there it is. We went into London to see Electric Soft Parade, one of the bands on Boy's indie label (my husband is way, way cooler than I am, if you were keeping score.) We spent much of the night talking about the Meyers, watching videos of the Meyers on our phones, telling other people about the Meyers and emailing my parents back at the palace to inquire about the Meyers. Rhys had a little meltdown right before we came home, but all in all did an amazing job on his first evening without The MommyDaddy.

Pictures? I thought you'd never ask!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

e.l.f. Liquid Liner in Plum

I had seen swatches of this liner that made it look red-ish and shimmery, so I was kind of disappointed when I got this super dark, flat looking liner:

That is, until I realized, the color is actually LINCOLN PARK AFTER DARK. Once I realized that, I was all over this stuff like a 17 year old boy on prom night.

The brush? It is not this liner's best feature. It is kind of a felt tip applicator, which isn't great for drawing thin lines. I have a black version of this liner and it has a more brush-y brush which I love. Maybe e.l.f. is phasing out the felt tip? I hope so. I've had some success applying the Plum liner with a stand alone eyeliner brush and also lining then going over lightly w/ an e.l.f smudge brush to conceal the wiggles in my line.

Do you need this? For $1, you could do a hell of a lot worse. I'm going to say yes!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

London Over The Years

I had so much fun assembling my Hampton Court over the years post that I decided to put together a London version as well, in honor of the fact that we're in London as this post publishes.

This one is from my first trip to London. I was 8-ish, I think? The pose, I don't know. I was probably encouraged into it by my parents. THANKS, GUYS. The high tops are unfortunate, but the oxblood leather jacket? I'll stand beind that . . . wish I still had it!

Early 90s half side ponytail with scrunchie, FTW!

These were taken on a trip I took with my oldest and dearest friend right after we both finished high school. We were eighteen and on our own in the world for the first time. It was GLORIOUS. Still some of my fondest memories ever.

Post-collegiate backpacking through Waterloo station

More from my unfortunately red-haired era.

With the hubs, back when he was the bf.

About 5 yeas ago with my college friend Becca, who was living in London at the time. This was the trip where a combo of jetlag and an allergey med that (unbeknownst to me at the time) caused insomnia left me a snivelling wreck a week into the trip. Not my best trip, but spending time with Becca was super fun!

Our wedding trip!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Trick or Treat

My boy, you guys. We took him trick or treating with his daycare friends, which was just spectacularly convenient because the westside to valley route is notoriously traffic-y on Halloween night and trick or treating from daycare saves us precious evening daylight time. Plus the Meyers got to share the experience with his friends.

He was BEYOND adorable in his knight costume. I mean, really.

He was so earnest, with his little bucket walking up to each house on the block. We got him to say trick or treat, but not always at the appropriate moment. We wanted him to say "thank you" at each house, but thank you is still a bit tough for him to say (although "please" he uses regularly and approrpriately). He said "BYE!" instead, which got a few laughs.

His haul included a ton of Skittles and Tootsie Rolls . . . we were completley willing to let him eat some of his candy, but he picked mostly chokable things, unfortunatley. He did come home with one Three Musketeers bar which we let him dig into. As we opened it up he said "Yeah . . .yeah . . .YEAHHHHHHHHH!!!" and stopmed his little feet around in a happy dance kind of way.

This big boy . . . I'm so lucky to be his mama.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blogging from the Past

By the time you read this, I'll be on VACATION! A long anticipated, much deserved vacation. Our first "real" one with Rhys . . . "real" meaning more than a few days long and involving a flight. We are in England for 2 weeks . . . first for several nights at Hampton Court Palace and then for about a week in London.

I wanted to schedule a few posts for the time I'll be gone because I've been on a roll blogging lately, even though I think my readership number suffered dearly during my long postpartum blog-lapse. Can that be a word? I like it. Bloglapse.

In honor of the "from the past" theme I'm talking myself into here, how's about a photo round up of past visits to Hampton Court Palace?

This is the earliest photo I had readily available (the caption is my parents', not mine. Although I agree, I'm adorable). We visited Hampton Court on this trip, but didn't stay there (we didn't know we could yet!). I'm probably 11? Festively attired in a 90's era loud sweater and puffed heart necklace.

Here I am at HCP in 2001 or thereabouts, in the summer for the first and only time ever (it is cheaper in the fall, so that's when we typically go). I visited Hampton Court as part of a whirlwind, post college backpacking trip through London, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague and Munich.

Next up! I'm early twenties here, on my first trip staying at the palace. Check out my coat! No, seriously. Check. Out. My. Coat. I still have it. Can't bear to part with it!

Mid 20s, red hair, hot pink scarf (I've had better fashion moments, I must say), on the roof.

About 4 years ago, on my first trip with my "boyfriend" (whom I later promoted to "husband" and ultimately "baby daddy")

And lastly, most recently, on our WEDDING TRIP!

That was fun! I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as I did.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bento Roundup (. . . and the mystery of the missing Bentos)

I'm missing a photo again! One I know I took! ARGGGG . . . ANYWAYS. Here's Monday through Thursday:

Spicy Bean Soup (broth strained off for ease of finger feeding), a hunk of white cheddar, half a parmesan and rosemary roll, clementines, blueberries, strawberries and a homemade pumpkin muffin. I had high hopes of packing a festive Halloween Bento with my new Williams Sonoma jack o lantern cookie cutting kit ($2.99 on sale the day before Halloween . . .I KNOW!), but Rhyser isn't so into sandwiches yet. Next year!


This was the day after Halloween and we'd gone out for pizza after Trick or Treating, so I had no leftovers. I really felt like I was phoning it in with this lunch, but in retrospect it doesn't look too bad. Mac and cheese (Easymac, made in the microwave then poured into the box), frozen peas, two Quorn nuggets, strawberries, blueberries and a cinnamon twist cookie.

A clementine, homemade apple cinnamon muffin, concord grapes, broccoli, zucchini cakes, baked potato cubes with butter and cheese.

Strawberries, Halloween cookie, grapes, stir fried carrots peppers and onions, brown rice with soy sauce and tofu chunks.

Friday I am missing pictures for (!!!) but I packed wheat pasta with cheese sauce, broccoli with onions and tomatoes, zucchini cakes, and some fruity/muffiny goodness.

We're off to the UK for two weeks as of tomorrow! I've got a few posts lined up, but it'll be radio silence on the Bento front for a few weeks. Cheerio!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth . . . again.

I know, I know. It is getting silly. HOWEVER, I promise not to go back for at least a month (which is due mostly by the fact that I'll be on VACATION for two weeks of November, but WHATEVER).

On this trip we went with my hubs' cousin, who is also a Disney fanatic and passholder. Rhyser rode Dumbo for the first time (says Rhys, in line, "Mama . . . mama . . . MAMA" (craning his neck to press his nose up against mine and make sure I'm paying attention), Me: "Yes, sweetheart?", Meyers: "DAT!" pointing at the ride. Dat, indeed, Rhyser!)

Rhys rode Astro Blasters with daddy, thus manning his very own gun for the first time!

We rode the carousel, and got the lead horse!

Took a spin on the Casey Jr. Trains, one of Rhys' favorite rides . . .

And scored our very own boat on Small World!

A grand old time was had by all.

Need proof?