So we did get the rest of the paperwork in Thursday morning. Turned out once I got there, they had MORE paperwork for me to fill out. But it’s done. And now the waiting begins……I hate waiting!
So in a “Comedy of errors/minor disasters?”, my friend Margaret and I took our girls and J to London on Thursday. We got a much later start than planned because of the house stuff. Luckily though we had decided to just hop the train from Ely instead of driving an hour to Epping to catch the tube and save (hopefully) a few pounds in gas and a lot of sanity with five kiddos :). The problems started when we couldn’t find parking at the station. We made that work though, I took the kids to the grocery store to get train snacks while Margaret looked for parking. But then we missed the train by ONE MINUTE and had to take one to Cambridge then to Ely instead of a direct. Not a biggee. Got to London sometime after noon and it was CRAZY! Since it was half-term and most of the country was out of school that made it busier, they were doing construction and people could only walk down about a 3 ft wide space of the road, that made it crazy and since the tubes were so overcrowded they were starting to shut things down, again CRAZY! So we get out of the station…..into the POURING DOWN RAIN with shoulder to shoulder people in the 3 ft wide space looking for food for the kids that are growing increasing ugh because they are SOOOOO hungry! Then jackpot – sushi :). Except it was not to be as a lot of other people had the same idea and we had seven people we needed to sit (and two strollers we had to find room for!). So back out into the rain and down a few store fronts to a really good little Chinese place. It too was crazy and packed, but we managed to come in at just the right time to grab two tables. T and I had this really yummy caramel chicken (the spicy chicken Margaret had was FAB, but T can’t do the citric acid in it), got that for the kids too and they loved it.
So we were all feed and happy and ready to move on in our adventure. We were only a few blocks from the museums that we wanted to go to. The Natural History and Science Museums. The kids and I got to go to the Natural History museum with my parents last year and it was awesome, but way too much museum to do in one day! So there we are back out in the pouring down rain and rude people and we get in view of the musuem…..and there were people lined up outside down and around the museum!!! Now these (as previously mentioned) are not small museums. They EACH take up a VERY large city block. Very large. So that is a lot of people standing in line in the pouring down rain.
Now to give you a quick imagery of how this was: we are standing at a crosswalk looking at this museum district. Right in front of us is the V&A museum, to the left is the Natural History and behind it the Science museum. We are crossing by the side of the V&A musuem actually wanting to cross the street when we get a good look at how long the Natural History line is. No prob we’ll just go to the Science. We are forging ahead when this crowd starts rushing towards us. Which of course gets us all locked up on the sidewalk. Thankfully a woman heard us say that we were headed to the Science Musuem. She had just left it. They had shut it down due to fire alarms hence the large crowd coming towards us!
Sooooo, we duck inside the V&A musuem to get all of these kids out of the crowd and pouring down rain. Now the V&A part stands for Victoria and Albert. Way back when Victoria’s husband Albert who was also a big patron of the arts and new technologies emerging starting this “Great Exhibition of 1851” which was at once point a mobile exhibition that found it’s permenant home there.
It really is a lovely museum filled with lots of different exhibits. The fashion through the ages was particularly interesting to C. In fact I kind of hate to say it, but I think C and I may have gotten the most out of this trip. T had fallen asleep as soon as we exited the restaurant and didn’t wake until we were in the lift going to the third floor! J had fun with his girlfriend, but the exhibits didn’t really do too much for him. It really is more of a grown-up museum. So after 4-5 hours in there (we weren’t really keeping an eye on the time) it was around dinner time and the kids were growling for food again :).
We hit the tube back to the train station. Margaret knew where a McDonald’s was close by so we took the kids to that. That ended up being a bit of an experience too! You order downstairs, then can take your food upstairs to sit down and eat. We dashed upstairs first to try to secure a table. They have people whose sole job is to keep an eye on the dining area and assist diners and clean up the tables. We luckily, very luckily were able to snag a C-shaped table that held ALL of us. Then the bathroom trips started. Since they only had one stall working in the ladies and we alone had six ladies this took awhile. Plus we were holding our table. Then I went back downstairs to order all of the food. What was slightly busy when we went upstairs had turned into crazy chaos busy. All of the business people were trying to grab food to go after their long day. And I was ordering for seven people holding things up a bit. The McD folks were very nice and helpful and one of the managers even carried one of the trays upstairs for me.
I don’t know if it was the long, crazy day or what, but that was the BEST McD’s I have ever eaten :)! And not expensive at all!! For all seven of us it was just under 19 pounds (around $30.40). And best of all there was a Starbucks next door so we were able to get Chai Tea lattes to take on the train ride home.
Now to go with the theme of the day we arrived at the station just as a train was leaving for Cambridge – it was packed up full. So we ended up having to wait for another half hour for the direct train to Ely (it was 7:15 at this point). This was also the point where C really started suffering. She had been having jaw pain most of the day, but it was at the crying point then. Margaret watched all of the kids while I went searching for some kind of medicine. All I could get was 200 mg ibprofen tablets. She has NEVER taken a pill. This did not go over well. After about 20 minutes of trying she finally chewed it (after being told to definitely NOT do that). Then she started getting sick to her stomach. Poor baby. We were sitting on the floor in the station with a plastic bag in case she threw up when they announced the platform for our train, so up and off we were with the rest of the rush! And you have to move or you are not getting your group seated together. And obviously with two 3 yr old, and a 5, 6 and 8 year old we could not get separated! Got settled on the train (with the plastic bag) and headed back to Ely. We did end up having to get off the train at Cambridge after all. They were only taking half the train on to Ely so we had to get off and move all the kids to the other end of the train. Now they had announced this before arriving at the Cambridge station, but we thought we were in the front of the train. Not so much. Finally got back to Ely a bit after 9 p.m. Walked in the still pouring rain to the long term parking and then took the girls home. By the time we rolled into our house it was after 10 p.m.
Although it was a CRAZY day, it was a lot of fun too. Yea London with good friends.
This brings us Friday. Poor C was still having awful pains; so I took her to the dr. He thought it was from the cabin pressure she had experienced while on the train. Her ears were not popping causing her pain on the train on the ride in (and back). Apparently you have an air pocket at the joint connection for your jaw that if it doesn’ t pop can be quite painful. She seems to be much better now.
But since we spent the morning at the dr’s office we were not home to finish cleaning the house for game night Friday night. I had set up a bowling night, but we were supposed to come back to my house for dessert after. Which we did not do. But we did do the bowling and it was a hit. Everyone had lots of fun. We had (I think!) 14 kids and 9 adults (sorry if I missed anyone!). Our friend Elena came over afterwards and we got to hang out and catch up so that was really fun.
Now were are watching one of our 2 yr. old friends while her momma is at work and I am a bit tired! But it has been a pretty good half-term holiday 🙂