The London Eye

On our first full day in London, we rode one of those hop on-hop off buses with Ian's whole family (and I got nothing out of it with Callum on my lap the whole time) and also rode the London Eye. My father in law booked us our own capsule, which was pretty dang cool. Not only did we not have to wait in the mammoth of a line, but it was fun just being us in the capsule, which also gave the kids more free space to roam and do as they would like. 

Connor and Callum were most in to the experience, with Connor obviously being more aware of what was going on and getting something out of it. Isla, on the other hand, was tortured to be along for the ride. Thankfully she didn't pitch a fit, but except for the family photo that we made her be in, she sat "safely" on the bench in the middle of the capsule. The London Eye is always a beautiful and fun experience. Several years ago we did it at night, which was super cool. I actually forgot to stop and look at a ton of the view and see what I could spot because I was so busy talking to the kids and seeing what they were seeing. This is just one of those things that never gets old and I would totally go on again and again...if it weren't for the insane crowds. 

^^ Isla taking a look up at the London Eye from the safety of the ground

We crammed a LOT of stuff in to our week in London, so expect to hear much more about it coming up. 

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The Edinburgh Zoo

The Edinburgh Zoo was the last sort of big thing we did in Edinburgh. I actually went several years ago with my mom. It was pouring down rain that day and I really, really wanted to see the penguin parade. I was just as excited to see the penguin parade this time, but it was insanely crowded. We still managed though...even if the kids didn't get nearly as excited about penguins walking RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM as I thought they would. 

Honestly, the highlight of the zoo for the kids was the playground...and the gift shop probably came in second. But they played at the playground two different times. Isla instantly made friends with some other girls and the kids were bummed when we made them move on. Lunch was also a highlight. Isla actually asked if we could come back just to eat again! But that was just because they had "mcdonald fries" (her words) instead of the large hand cut type that are all over the UK. Isla was so impressed with the fries, she even told our friends about the fries when we got together with them the next day. 

The low of the zoo was our practically brand new stroller breaking in the middle of the zoo. I bought the stupid thing for the trip. The company then told us it was compromised when we flew with it. Yeah, whatever!!! We had our last stroller over 8 years and it flew more times than I can count and never a problem. Oh well. I'm over it...sort of. 

Also, mine and Ian's phones are full of photos Isla has taken when we are out and about on our trip. Things like plants and animals she seems to love to photograph. It's really cute. I brought her instax camera with us for the trip, but she hasn't been as into taking pictures with it as I thought. She has expressed frustration with the pictures not turning out well a lot. Which is true. Often they are way too bright. I even tried looking online for tips, but they didn't seem to help. Who knows. 

So there you have it. The end of our two weeks in Edinburgh. In case you missed anything, we went to the Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, did some random things around Edinburgh, went to the Falkirk Wheel, and according to Callum, ate a lot. We also managed to see some friends, go out on two dates, as well as take both Connor and Isla out separately with the two of us. Then there was all of the ice cream eating and coffee shop visits too. It was a really good two weeks. 

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Scotland according to Callum

Callum has a unique view on our vacation given that, well, he really could care less if we are travelling and seeing new things or not. Also because he is stroller bound so often from all the walking...miles and miles of walking every single day. But he has been a trooper. He has taken to stroller naps like he did them all the time. And food is his go to anywhere we go. The kid can sniff out ice cream. And, no joke, ice cream is everywhere in Edinburgh. Like practically every corner. Even my mom was blown away by how it is just everywhere. 

Besides eating ice cream, some of Callum's other highlights have been running free when we are in open spaces, chasing pigeons, jumping on beds every chance he gets, and standing directly in front of the tv watching the baby channel. He also really likes the tram. He claims to always want to ride the bus, yet gets antsy on it mere seconds after we get on. I must also not forget his love of saying hi to everyone. It can be when we are walking around or even on public transportation. It's pretty dang cute.

^^ Callum actually says "monkeys jump on bed" while jumping on the bed, haha! But the no monkeys jumping on the bed book is one of his favorite and he asks to have it read to him every day, so that is really no surprise.

^^ Getting his veggies in with a piece of carrot cake ;)

Oh yeah, the shower at the flat we stayed in was also a favorite of Callum's. The doors opened in the middle and he had so much fun opening and closing them over and over and over again while showering. Also, the doors got nice and steamy and he loved drawing in all the steam.

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The Falkirk Wheel

Remember when I said I would work to keep up with my trip while gone? Yeah, that’s gone well. Let’s go back more than a week ago to Saturday the 14th. We took a 25 minute train ride out of Edinburgh to visit the Falkirk Wheel. This thing is fascinating to me for so many reasons. The huge contraption itself is crazy, then there is the fact that it wasn’t built as a tourist attraction (which it since has become) and was just meant to help revitalize the country’s canal system. Basically they made this crazy contraption that moves boats from one level to the next in under 5 minutes to replace the 33 locks that boats used to have to go through...imagine how long that took!!!

Since I read about the activities at the wheel ahead of time, I brought along the kids swimsuits and they were able to play in the splash pad. We also took the boat ride up and down the wheel. It was pretty crazy being in it, as you couldn’t really tell you were moving if you were just looking out. Also, it must be noted I freaked out a bit when we were going in the wheel at the top. Mostly because I wondered what would happen if we hit the front barrier and it failed...eek! I generally don’t think of myself as a fearful person, then I get in situations like that one and realize I totally can be freaked out. Oh well. It was totally worth the momentary freak out for the experience.

^^ This kid was jumping all over in super shallow water...not the smartest. But he lived.

^^ Ian got in on the water moving run on the wheel and it takes water from the bottom to the top. 

Now to get caught up on the thirty-two other things we've done since...soon, very soon. I really want to remember it all. Or most of it, at least.

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Random Things Around Edinburgh

We've done a lot more than just visit castles while we've been here and I want to make sure to document these smaller things too. So here are some of the smaller things we have gotten up to while in Edinburgh. These are the types of things the kids really enjoy, as they are often fun things for them to do.

Princes Street Gardens:

This is a huge public park that stretches the main street in town. It also used to be the castle's moat/part of the defense system. And a couple hundred of years ago, was also where they killed the suspected witches...eek! But it's a beautiful lush garden today. There are walking paths through it, ice cream vendors throughout and currently, at the end, there are a couple activities you can do...the sort of activities my children are always suckers for! 

Portobello Promenade:

This is the seaside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. On the day we went it was quite windy and we felt a little chilly. But there were still plenty of kids playing in the water. Our kids enjoyed playing in the sand before we took them in to the way, way overpriced arcade for a bit. It made every arcade I've ever taken them in to before seem cheap. It was ridiculous. But the kids had fun playing a few games before we moved on.

National Museum of Scotland:

This place is h-u-g-e and it's free. Obviously the kids didn't want to look at everything, but they especially enjoyed all the space based exhibits and the animals. There are plenty of exhibits that are hands on, like the race car simulator Connor is in. On our way out, we went up to the roof to see the amazing view. It was raining, so we didn't stay out there for long. But I especially enjoyed all the roof lines of the old buildings nearby. 

A coffee shop on a boat:

One of my old coworkers posted a picture here and Ian and I decided we wanted to check it out. It is on one of the canals in Edinburgh. It was actually quite a cute and peaceful spot. We go to at least one coffee shop a day, usually more...because, hello, I am travelling with Ian! Isla actually did sit by the window of the place the whole time until they made her hot chocolate. That smile in the last picture, it is because the lady is getting ready to hand her the hot chocolate. The girl really likes her some hot chocolate!

Golf at Bruntsfield Links:

There is a little pitch n put golf course in the middle of a huge park in Edinburgh. I used to work close to the park, so we were familiar with the area. And Ian had played it before with a friend. You go into a pub to check out your clubs and golf ball. It's quite cute. Though there are 36 holes, Ian did a good job with managing 9 holes, playing with Connor and Isla. There were times I feared for someone's head with the kids handling golf clubs, but all was well. Isla was actually way more into it than I expected. 

Besides these things, we've gotten ice cream numerous times...because why not?! We have walked a ton and the kids really have been troopers about it. I noticed if they are distracted while walking, like engaged in conversation or something, they don't seem to notice they are walking and are totally fine. We generally only eat lunch out. Breakfast and dinner are enjoyed at our flat, making it much more pleasant for all involved. I am just not a fan of taking tired, hungry kids out to dinner. It really has been a good trip and I'm enjoying having Ian around all the time.

And just in case you haven't seen my other posts - here is our visit to Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle

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