Natural History Museum

In between a week of everyone taking it in turns of getting sick in the family, and many hours still playing with the Cake Mountain Play-doh set, it was time to actually make a date with friends and go to the Natural History Museum in Los AngelesĀ 
Thanks to a nifty Groupon deal we are proud members and got all of us in for free! So there we were, Catalina and I and Summer and Joaquin all ready to see some bones.

I actually think the kids were just as excited to be going on the train as much as seeing dinosaurs. What is it about getting on them that makes them SO worked up that they have to repeat the word “train” about 100 times? By the time we got to the actual museum they loved how much space there was so just had to run. everywhere.

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and they wanted to touch everything.

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which I guess is fine as that is kind of what you do in museums anyway, right? oh, there was also a LOT of pointing and dinosaur noises

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So my experience of going there with two toddlers to NHM (Summer is 22 months and Joaquin is 20 months) is prepare yourself for them to be more interested in the space around and the environment rather than the actual objects that are on display.
Summer is going through a dinosaur obsession right now (yes, that is Arlo from Good Dinosaur she is traipsing around with her) so she was really into seeing them, and Joaquin loves a good mode of transport so he spotted a few vehicles around which got him excited. There are the rooms with taxidermy animals in them which look like they’re from The Night at the Museum movie which I loved, but for the kids I think they got slightly scared as they are pretty dark rooms. Plus, we weren’t too good on timings and ended up sharing the rooms with about 50 school kids on a field trip. Not gonna lie, was a bit scared to put Summer down when she wanted to run incase I lost her and couldn’t see her in the dark room.
Outside there is a great space for eating and the Nature Gardens are amazing. These alone are worth the trip if you didn’t want to go inside. They have the get dirty zone where you can run around in the mud or splash in the water features and by pure accident trying to find the exit we stumbled across the edible garden where they grow many things that smell delicious.

We only managed to do the first floor as it does get a bit overwhelming and we were getting hungry – no one can concentrate when their bellies are rumbling, but I want to go back to explore more.

I managed to catch the Tattoo exhibition on a different visit and I highly recommend it. I don’t even have any tats myself but still found the exhibition fascinating.

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Overall, I think it was a successful trip and even just walking through Exposition Park I know there’s plenty more for us to explore.

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UK! Home for 3 weeks

This is a jet lag, vanilla iced coffee induced blog post. We are 2 days back from a wonderful trip back to UK after 10 months of being away. My head is full of funny memories and my belly is stuffed full from all the chocolate, cakes, Nandos, fish and chips and Chinese we could handle! I could write for days about what we got up to, but I’m just gonna put some little things here. Our time was split between both families and luckily they’re only an hour and half away from each other. I like to refer to that particular journey as “the coastal tour” as its along the south coast and we used to do this trip every Christmas and probably all the other holiday seasons in UK – it’s the trip with all the roundabouts.

The wedding
The whole reason why we came back and the best reason is because Marks little brother Alex was marrying the wonderful Emma. This was a wedding of two beautiful souls and you could see every single detail they have put into it. It was great how they incorporated their love for the beach and surfing into the decorations and the music was amazing due to Alex’s involvement with music. They also used a real sword to cut their cake!
Summer was a flower girl too which made it even more special and with a ton of breadsticks and Moana on hand we managed to get her smiling down the aisle.

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The weather
It was a wet week in Bournemouth, which actually was quite a nice and refreshing! But… three days into it kind of changing our plans I was quickly over it and thinking of those blue LA skies! It was strange to be back in many layers and actually on the first day we had to make a shopping stop to buy Mark a jacket and Summer more warmer trousers.

 

The many animals we saw
So I realised that having your own children means you get to go back to places that live in your own childhood memories, and that’s really fun!

In Bournemouth we made a trip to Farmers Palmers where we met horses, fed goats, got lost in a maize maze, held Guinea pigs, rode go karts and played in a haystack full of slides.

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In crawley we went to Tilgate Park where we stroked donkeys, watched meerkats, spotted pigs, pretended to be kangaroos and saw swans in the lakes

In Brighton we went to Drusillas Park and watched many, many monkeys, saw penguins being fed, more horses and pigs, lots of birds and many exotic ones too like the servalsĀ and Binturongs!

Before Mark and me even had Summer we loved animals (Mark actually proposed to me at the zoo!) so to see Summers reaction to wanting to pet every animal she saw made everything feel so much more special. She was getting good at pointing them out in her books, but to see them in real life, that was just amazing for her. And with all these trips we went with family members and good friends, it was great to see how much joy the animals brought to them too, but mainly for them to see Summers personality.

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The family
Obviously one of the drawbacks of moving to another country is being away from loved ones. And going back means you want to cherish every moment you have with them. It makes my heart melt when I see Summer pouring pretend tea with her great grandma or how she calls both my parents Yaya and Yaya. I loved how her face lit up everytime her grandma entered the room (you should have seen her when she came in with a fascinator on her head!) or how she just wants to play with Bailey and Bradley – the family dogs. I loved watching her chase Zoe-Beth around and around and around and how she would just stare at her uncle Alex and uncle Brett.
Every time I think of those memories it makes me want to just pack everything up and run back home, but also know that there is so much more of America that Mark, Summer and me need to explore whilst we are here. Thank goodness for technology and FaceTime and all other devices that make it so simple for us to just call home and see a friendly face when things get a bit too tough for me out here

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Summer’s first haircut by Grandma

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So these are just small things I’m touching on about our time back. What do you look forward to most when going back to your roots?