Finally, a baby related post!

Since this is a pregnancy/baby blog, I suppose the place to start is… getting pregnant! Don’t worry, I know most of my readers will be family, and there are some things that are just truly tmi. But an eensy bit won’t hurt, right?

I’ve wanted a baby for as long as I can remember. My mom says as a toddler in daycare, when kids’ parents showed up, I’d be the one getting them in their jackets and chivvying them to the door. I started working in the nursery at church with my mom long before I was officially old enough to do so, and had my first babysitting job at 12. I also had my first dream that I was pregnant around that age, and that’s continued at least once every few months ever since. (Side note- In all those dreams I never once felt the baby move. I’ve always assumed that was because I didn’t have any frame of reference for what it felt like. So maybe soon that will change?) I started working as a nanny shortly after we got married (couldn’t previously because those jobs don’t have insurance). So all that to say, I’ve been getting a bit impatient about the baby thing for a while.

Christopher and I have had the sense to take things fairly slow. We got married after almost 5 years of dating, and didn’t rush to have a baby afterwards. Okay, that latter part was mostly him, but I also knew his reasons were sound, and agreed even when I didn’t want to. It’s hard to fight those “gimme a baby now” hormones!

But at some point last year, the discussions got more serious. I started eating healthier (I haven’t had a coke in just over a year!), and we started thinking about budget changes and the like. At some point we finally settled on trying in May of this year (2013). We were hoping for a Spring-ish birthday, and it’d be our 4 year anniversary, so it seemed good.

I was WAY more impatient now that I knew a baby could be a reality soon, instead of just a vague hope. Eventually we decided to push the start date for trying to April, with his annual company trip, this year to Phoenix. I would have pushed for even earlier, but neither of us wanted a Christmas baby if we could help it. (Which could still happen if s/he comes early. Stay in there Stormy, it’s for your own good!)

So on to the interesting bit, finding out we were pregnant. For some reason I was convinced it was going to take us months to get a positive. Maybe just because I was so afraid of fertility issues, and it was easier if I told myself I expected a negative for a few months. As my aunt pointed out, I should have remembered my mother and most of my family got pregnant pretty much by thinking about it. I was a (happy!) accident myself!

So on day 30 of April’s cycle, I was still expecting AF to show any second. 28-30 days is normal for me, and I was definitely feeling every PMS symptom I always get. (In retrospect I should have remembered that PMS essentially is early pregnancy, before your body finds out it’s not pregnant!) But I woke up with my back hurting, and wanted to take some advil. I almost just grabbed some, but it occurred to me that I could be pregnant, and besides, it kinda sounded fun to take my first test since we started trying. I had NO doubts it would be negative.

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Aaaaand… it wasn’t. BFP. (Big Fat Positive, for those of you not hip to the baby board lingo.) I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever felt my heart rate that high. It was the biggest shock I’ve ever felt. Happy shock, but shock.

I had all these cute plans for ways to tell Christopher. Maybe a little “I love Daddy” onesie. Or a piggy bank with a note saying “College fund, only 18 years and 9 months to save!” There are so many ideas out there. As it turned out, I was in such disbelief that I walked upstairs to where he was on the computer and mutely handed him the test. He said something like “that’s not positive” when he saw what I was handing him, and was about as speechless as I was when he read it. Once I found my voice, I kept saying things like “really?!” and “wait, did I really read that right?” I stared at the test, and later the picture of the test when I wasn’t home, a lot of times.

Alright, that’s long enough for one post! For those of you who prefer short and sweet, I’m afraid I’m much too verbose for that! I also really like my parentheticals, so get used to that. Next, starting to tell the lucky few, and how many tests did I wind up taking?

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Trip to Europe- Flights Home- Day 10

Alright, last day was boring and uneventful (thankfully), so I’ll try to keep it short. We got up annoyingly early and the hotel shuttle thing took us to the airport. No milk again, since it was so early. Sadface. I got some at the airport though. Delightfully, when we got there all the computers were down. Not just Delta’s, all of them. That was interesting. We waited in some very confusing lines and barely kept from yelling at the employees who couldn’t seem to just get one person to stand up and say where to go, even after we’d figured out they’d put us in the wrong line.

But we did finally get through, and security was quick (though stricter than the US on the liquids thing. We *never* put ours in a baggie, but we had to there). The gate hadn’t been announced, but by the time we got some breakfast it had. We got on the flight (yay!) but I was really worried for a bit because they called my name but not Christopher’s and I did NOT want to fly back by myself. But they had just forgotten to say his too, so we were fine, and even got seats together which was even better. I slept for a good chunk of the flight home, and read and ate for the rest. Christopher watched 3 movies. Even though we were in coach this time, the movies were still free, and there was free alcohol, which I’ve never heard of in coach.

 
At Atlanta we had a very short layover and had to get through customs, so we really didn’t think we’d make it. We literally ran for part of it. And then when we got there, the flight was overbooked by 4 and there were 15 people ahead of us on standby, so we figured no way we’d make it. But somehow we managed to get the last two seats (again, together!). That flight was even shorter and less eventful, aside from the fact that unsurprisingly, our luggage didn’t make it on that flight. We picked it up the next day though, so no harm done.
 
We made it home early enough to pick up the puppies, which was a huge plus. They were very happy to see us! A little sickly (two upset tummies and a sprained tail, as I mentioned), but super excited.

And that was our trip!

Trip to Europe- Windsor, Bath, and Stonehenge- Day 9

And now we come to our last day of sightseeing. This was a day we’d both been looking forward to, because it was our Windsor Castle, Bath, and (!)Stonehenge tour. Yay!

Sadly, we had to leave too early for milk (the shop was closed), but I got some once we got to the coach (bus) station, so it was alright. We took a cab there, so as not to have to worry about getting lost/being on time. It was a sort of shuttle associated with the hotel though, so no proper London cab, sadness.

At the coach station we grabbed some coffee and some kind of breakfast thing for Christopher, and some (not all that good, but delightfully warm since I was cold) hot chocolate for me. We found our “gate” (don’t know what to call it there) quickly, and settled into seats. Nice bonus of being early, you get seats to wait! I had to pee, but turned out the bathrooms cost money (30 pence this time) so I thought I’d wait since the bathroom on the bus would be free. Only once we got on I discovered it didn’t work. So 30 pence and a run back to the station bathrooms, and all was well.

On the bus we got the best seats. They were right behind the middle set of stairs and had bunches of leg room and a nice big table/tray thing to set our stuff on. I was quite pleased. Our tour guide was also pretty awesome. He was dressed like I think a proper British man should. A nice tweed sport coat and proper waistcoat (vest). People don’t wear waistcoats enough anymore.

Windsor Castle was first, and it wasn’t very far. Even with traffic and lights I don’t think it was more than 45 minutes, and we hit EVERY red light. Windsor is the official residence of the Queen. Everyone thinks it’s Buckingham Palace, but apparently not. It had some very striking landscaping that I loved. We got to see Queen Mary’s dollhouse, which was super awesome. At least 6 feet to a side, real working plumbing and electric lights, perfect miniatures of everything from the crown jewels to a very forward-for-the-times vacuum cleaner. Even Christopher loved it (but don’t tell he loved a dollhouse). Unfortunately pictures aren’t allowed anywhere indoors at Windsor, so we have no pictures of it.

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We also saw some other things inside, like a dining room with the most absurdly huge table ever, but honestly, at that point after Versailles and the like, it wasn’t all that impressive. And I wasn’t feeling great, so I didn’t care as much. But, at 11 they had the changing of the guard! We missed that at Buckingham Palace, but this was pretty cool. All the marching and stomping, and the band played music for a long time. We actually got kind of bored and went to see St. George’s Chapel while everyone else was still watching them. The chapel had some of the prettiest stained glass we saw on the whole trip, and at least one window was from the 1500’s.

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I was wondering though, since glass is a liquid (technically), and very, VERY slowly gets distorted over time because it “runs,” shouldn’t those windows have been less pretty by now? I’m curious about that.

Anyway, we went back out pretty quickly, because lunch was at 11:30. We managed to leave the castle just ahead of the band, so we were in perfect position to see them march out. Then we headed into the pub for our tasty fish and chips (included in the cost of the tour). I had to be careful about drinking too much (water!) though, because the drive to Bath was the longest of the tour, something like 120 miles. As I mentioned, no bathroom on board, so didn’t want to risk any issues!

After our fish and chips, unfortunately, being the crazy pregnant lady that I am, I was still hungry. Christopher spotted the “cinnamon cafe,” and I was able to get my first cinnamon roll of the trip, and it was delicious. Huge win! So huge, in fact, that I convinced him to go get me a second one. Though in my defense, we shared them both, so technically I only ate one whole one. (Grumble. Now I want one.)
 
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Then it was time to get back on the bus. The guide didn’t talk the whole way to Bath, but he did talk some and tell us about how it was built in Roman times, then abandoned, and later built over but no one knew the Roman ruins were underneath till relatively recently. Interesting stuff. I also fell asleep for a decent chunk of that drive. I’ve never been able to fall asleep sitting up much before, but boy I can now. It was one of my more interesting naps of the trip, because the tour guide narrated all my dreams. I woke up amused.

Bath was cool, but definitely somewhere you need more time. We didn’t go down to the Roman Baths, since they would cost extra and we didn’t have as much time as we’d like. We did go to Bath Abbey, which was very pretty, and (shocker) you could actually take pictures! We also walked down to take pictures of this really pretty little bridge, and went in a cute bookshop. Also, not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but all the pictures of books are ones I want to look up now that we’re home and see if I can find cheaper than in tourist traps!

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I was hungry by then (big surprise), so we stopped at a pasty shop. I’d been wanting to have one, since I’d read about them in various books, and it was delicious!

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The last thing we did was stop at a little fudge shop. They were sampling some of the sea salt and caramel and holy wow it was good. We got to see them making some too. It was rather overpriced, but I insisted on having some. I got a little sample box and got caramel (would have gotten the sea salt but that was before they gave us a sample), chocolate, brown sugar, and to be nice I let Christopher pick the last one so he got coffee. I say to be nice because he refused to buy it and I used allowance so technically it was all mine if I wanted it to be. He was annoyed, but I was super happy about it and had zero buyer’s remorse, so I don’t care. That’s why I have allowance. Also, I haven’t actually eaten it yet, but I think I’ll be having some as dessert with my lunch.

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Then it was time (after one last pop into the pub for a bathroom visit) to get back on the bus. Finally time for Stonehenge! It was a long drive too, but less so, 90 miles I think. On the way the guide pointed out a “baby castle” (very small and cute), some ginormous pigs, and this huge white horse that was carved in the side of a hill. He said there are a lot of them around Britain, and they’re fairly old.

At Stonehenge they’re starting to build a new visitors center for it, but it’s absurdly far away, where you can’t even see the stones. Apparently they’re going to have a little train that takes 60 people at a time up there. This past summer solstice it was pouring down rain, so they had “ONLY” 20,000 people that day. Assuming the train runs for say, 12 hours, it would have to make roughly 30 trips each way per hour. I’d really like to know who was in charge of planning that.

But anyway, that isn’t open yet, so we got to drive right up to the old visitor’s center which is right up next to it. Yay Stonehenge! It was a bit smaller than I expected, but otherwise super amazing. They had audio guides (as did most of the places we visited, actually, though I haven’t mentioned them), so we got to learn quite a bit about them. And as the guide pointed out, if you arrived from the other side, it meant looking up a fairly steep hill to the stones, making them look much taller. A lot of the pictures I’ve seen are from that perspective, so that’s probably why I thought they seemed small-ish. Also, apparently a full third of their length is buried under the ground, so they actually are quite a bit bigger than they look.

 
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People used to be able to go right up to them, but then some folks were sneaking mini chisels and stealing bits as souvenirs, so you can’t do that anymore. I like touching things (that sounds weird), so I was kinda disappointed, but then I realized that that meant you could take pictures without a zillion tourists in them so that more than made up for it.
When it was time to go (boo), I peed one last time, and Christopher went to the gift shop. We’d decided we wanted a Stonehenge shot glass for the England part of the trip. He also got a tiny replica of one set of stones. (The replica of the whole thing was like 20 pounds, no thanks.) Yay! Also, before we got on the bus I showed the guide my Doctor Who shirt I was wearing (I hadn’t taken off my hoodie previously) because he’d talked a bit about Doctor Who but he and I (and Christopher) were the only actual fans on board. Out of 75 people!
 
The final leg of the trip back to London wasn’t terribly long, and the guide spent part of it teaching us “proper English.” So the bus was a “coach,” the trunk of a car is the “boot,” etc. I enjoyed that. They dropped folks wherever would be easiest to get back to the hotel, which for us was at an Underground station. Riding the Underground was almost exactly like New York, crowded, ratty, nothing interesting. But I can say I rode the London Underground so I don’t care.
 
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Also, I was quite pleased with where it let us off. See, a couple days before I’d read in our guidebook that the church by the Tower of London was the oldest surviving church in London. The Tower of London was right by Tower Bridge, which was our landmark by the hotel, so we got off the train right there by it. Previously I’d been unable to find the church, mostly because I was too tired whenever we were near there to go looking, but we had to walk right past it to get to the hotel! I had been sad about not finding it, so I was very happy. It wound up being our last thing we saw (unless you count Heathrow airport, I suppose) since we left the next day.
 
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We had dinner at the hotel restaurant, which was a mistake. It was already pretty late (we got back to London at 8 something) and service was bad, and the food was bleh. Incredibly slow, and Christopher had to get up and find someone to ask when we needed ketchup or the check. I wound up leaving while he waited to pay so I could get a shower before bed. We had no way of knowing for sure if we’d make our flights, and I wanted to be as clean as possible if we might wind up in an airport for a day or longer. Thankfully we’d done well about keeping our things consolidated in the bags, so packing took very little time. And finally, bed time!

Trip to Europe- London- Day 8

So we’re on to Wednesday, next to last day of sightseeing. Christopher got up and took a shower and went and got me milk at the little shop up the street (it would have been immensely helpful to have had a fridge in the room, given that I went through about a gallon of milk in 1-2 pint increments!). I got up when he brought my milk, and had some frosted flakes and milk for breakfast. I got dressed in my usual Edinburgh hoodie and jeans(! finally clean jeans!) and we headed out.

We planned to hit Westminster Abbey first, which was a little ways (a mile maybe. Wait, I just google mapped it and no, more like 3) east up the Thames. We crossed Tower Bridge and walked on the north side, just for variety since we walked on the south the other times we went that way. I wasn’t thrilled about the walk (I prefer a taxi for early so I don’t start the day with tired feet), but it was actually quite nice most of the way. There are benches that are way comfier than most benches here, and lots of interesting things to see. We got a picture of the school that Daniel Radcliffe (actor who played Harry Potter) went to.

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The only real issue on the walk was that I had to pee about halfway there. We were in a largely business area, so no pubs or shops to duck in. We FINALLY found a public toilet, but they cost money there (dumb!). We had a pound coin, and 13 pence. It cost 20 pence and didn’t take a pound (which is also dumb, because desperate people like me would use them and they’d make 80 extra pence). Thankfully another person came by while we were trying to look for more coins and they needed to pee too, so they gave me 20 pence. (It’s great what people will do for you when they find out you’re pregnant.) The bathroom was weird. I’m annoyed we didn’t think to take a picture, but I just googled one and I’ll attach it. Once you go in, it was rather wet. There was no flush, and best I can tell the entire toilet bowl tips back into the back section and gets rinsed. Weird. But, it was a toilet so I wasn’t complaining!

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After that the walk was uneventful, but by the time we got to Westminster I was *hungry*. So before we went in, we walked down to a little pub and got some lunch. I had more fish and chips! Om nom nom. It was one of the best meals we had, though we had a lot of good meals in London so it’s hard to pick.

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Then we walked back up the street and headed into Westminster Abbey. It was pretty awesome, but I think I liked Notre Dame better in terms of how pretty it was. But Notre Dame didn’t have Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens and Robert Burns and stuff, so I think Westminster still wins. It was frustrating though, that (like all churches but one on our trip) you couldn’t take pictures inside. But cool nonetheless.

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After that we decided to walk down to Buckingham Palace. Let’s be honest here, not that interesting. The architecture was unimpressive compared to the cathedrals, and you can’t go in or anything except a couple months in the summer. Still, worth seeing. Plus there was a fountain and it had ducks and I fed them cheddar bunnies. That part was interesting anyway!

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At that point Christopher took pity on me and we caught a cab to head back west to St. Paul’s Cathedral. There were more cabs than I’ve even seen in one place at Buckingham Palace, so it was nice and easy. Not too long of a ride too, so Christopher didn’t get fussy about the money. ^_^ I might have fallen asleep for a minute on that very short drive.

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So then we were at St. Paul’s Cathedral (obviously?). Again, very pretty, very cool, no pictures. It had crypts too, but crypts turn out to be pretty boring now that we have electricity and it’s not like there are any bones lying around. Also, St. Paul’s burned in the fire that burned all of London in 1666 (on my birthday, no less!), and the old one was prettier from the pictures/models they had. The old one had a spire and the new one has a dome. Not as impressive. Though according to our tour guide the next day, the architect (Christopher Wren, if I recall correctly) was obsessed with pineapples (which were a major delicacy and cost about the equivalent of 10,000 pounds) and wanted to put a giant pineapple on top instead of a dome. Which would have been kind of awesome. He also said that there were two smaller pineapples on there, but since we didn’t know that when we were there, we have no pictures of them close enough to see well. They’re there though!

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St. Paul’s was pretty close-ish to our hotel (well, mile and a half-ish), but we got super disoriented. I went the wrong way, and then when a lady gave us directions (just to the Thames, which was RIGHT THERE), she sent us sort of the wrong way. We could have literally walked down the front steps to the Thames, not more than a block or two. Whoops. London was the hardest place to get around because it was too flat and had too many tall buildings. You couldn’t see landmarks from a distance like in Paris or Edinburgh. But it kind of worked out because on the way there I had seen a sweet shop that I wanted to check out and our incorrect route took us past it. (That’s where I took the pictures of marshmallow fluff for you, btw.) Christopher asked the lady what her most popular candy was, and she let us try it. It was a hard candy that was, no joke, rhubarb and custard flavored. Which tastes about as good as it sounds. British people are WEIRD.

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We continued on, stopping for some milk (for me) and dr. pepper (for Christopher). Christopher said I looked like “an alcoholic baby” with my milk at one point, hence the picture of me and my milk. Note the picture after that which shows the view of St. Paul’s from the bridge, proving just how close we were when we managed to go several blocks out of our way. Fun times.

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Once we crossed the Thames we were back in the area we’d been walking a lot, so we got some pictures of some of the things we’d been seeing but hadn’t bothered to take pictures of, like the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship (first one around the world). If you look at the pictures, you can also see a one-footed pigeon. He stood like a flamingo most of the time, and hopped on the stump to walk. It was really weird, but we didn’t see one healthy-footed pigeon in London. The no foot was the worst, but all of them were missing toes or had a club foot or something. Google suggests it’s from infections from standing in their own poop. That’s… gross. And sad.

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By this time, big surprise, I was hungry. (It was actually dinner time, so I wasn’t being totally crazy. Walking around cathedrals takes a LOT longer to do than to write about.) We had planned to stop at this little pub that looked nice, but that was before I had fish and chips for lunch. That was the only thing on their menu that sounded good to me (or was reasonably priced), and I knew I was having it for lunch the next day, so we passed on that. Instead we found a little Asian restaurant, continuing our habit of eating “foreign” food wherever we went. It was quite tasty. Edamame for both, teriyaki pasta for me, pad thai for Christopher. Their fortune cookies look weird! At that point the dizziness was getting bad again, so I was relieved to finish and head back to the hotel.

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On the way back we saw some sort of (free) event where there was a guy teaching people how to dance. It looked kind of fun, and Christopher wanted to try it out, but I was so not up for it. Especially since it involved spinning the woman, and I can’t handle ANY spinning these days without falling over. So we continued on, stopped for some milk, and rested at the hotel. I had milk and frosted flakes (I ate that entire box over the course of 4 days), and then a bath to give my feet a nice soak. Tubs there were a bit different (at least based on my experiences in Paris and London). Narrower, but long enough that you have to pretty much completely lie down with just your head out of the water. I expect it’s nice for taller people, but I could have used about 6 inches less. Still, it was nice and relaxing. Then bed, cause I was TIRED!

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Side note, somewhere in there we bought a Christmas ornament. We’d been looking for a good one and finally found one that had little pictures of all the places we’d been like Westminster Abbey and Tower Bridge and all. I don’t recall where exactly we bought it, but it was a gift shop.

Trip to Europe- London- Day 7

Today we got up a little later. Christopher went and got milk and cereal at the little supermarket up the street, so we had breakfast in the room. Then we took a cab up to where we picked up the London Passes (same as the Paris ones, basically). We could have walked, but I argued that starting the day with a long walk would mean definite sore feet by the end of the day. 
 
After we had our passes we were initially going to go to Westminster Abbey. But when Christopher flipped on the tv during breakfast, we saw that it’s the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, and they’re doing a big thing up at the Abbey for it. So no way we were doing that today. Instead we walked up a bit, and saw Big Ben and the Parliament building. We were there at noon, so we got to hear it go off!
 
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We stopped at a pub to look at the menu and so I could sneak to the bathroom (they’re really only for customers). It was a very complicated bathroom trip. First I had to go up really steep stairs, and wasn’t sure which way to go when I got up. Then the stall I went in (one of two) was so small I could barely get the door shut (a bigger person couldn’t have done it). Only the lock was messed up, and it seemed too hard to force it (I was afraid I’d get locked in), so I tried the other one. Only it didn’t have a seat. So I went back to the first one and got the lock working, and peed. But then it took a bit to figure out how to flush because it was one of those with a tank up over your head and you have to pull a chain. And toilets here that don’t flush super weak flush super strong. And I have this horror of not getting out quick enough and it overflowing so I should have waited because first the lock was stuck (as I suspected it would be) and then you have to basically straddle the toilet to get out cause of it being so small which I didn’t want to do. But eventually I escaped and was able to leave. Quite the drama filled bathroom visit. 
 
Then we caught a boat on the Thames (like the one in Paris). It was a double decker so we went up top. The fellow working it did a little “tour” explaining the buildings, so we got to find out what some of them were. We got off at Tower Bridge. It’s right by our hotel, so we’d seen it already, but it’s really pretty. Also, the London Bridge is super boring. Tower Bridge is way better. We walked up to the Tower of London (less than a block), and got some fish and chips from a little stand. Very tasty. I actually ate mine faster than Christopher, though he ate more in the end. 
 
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Then we went to the Tower of London. We saw the English crown jewels, which I have to admit were way more impressive than the Scottish ones. There’s a diamond on a scepter that’s as big as a golf ball. We’re a teeny bit sad now that we didn’t find the crown jewels at the Louvre, since then we’d have seen all three. But we were very ready to leave the Louvre when we did, so not that sad. We quite enjoyed the Tower, and did a short tour. We saw where Anne Bolyn (among others) was killed and where she was buried. They don’t know which cell William Wallace was kept in, but we did see the building that it was most likely in. The Tower has been a lot of different things over the years (mint, menagerie, armoury, etc), so they had some interesting displays up about the different things. Also, side note, the Traitor’s Gate was actually named after William Wallace, who was executed as a traitor, even though never was one. To be a traitor you have to have sworn an oath of allegiance. He had sworn to his own king, but not to the English king, so he wasn’t a traitor.
 
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After looking around there quite a bit, we headed to the Tower Bridge exibition. You get to go up and there’s a video about building it (1800’s I think) and you can cross it high up and then see the engine rooms that used to lift the bridge in the middle back when they used
steam engines. It still lifts sometimes, so we might see that tomorrow if we’re near it at a time when it does. If we had a boat we could even get it to open for us, if we gave them 24 hours notice. I think it’s really cool that anyone can get them to do it if they need through. Though overall the exibition was a bit boring.
 
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Then we went to the London Bridge crypt tour. It’s one of the highest rated tours in London. We only got to go through the historical part though. They have this whole other bit that’s supposed to be super scary, but a- I can’t go, it even says on the sign it’s not safe for pregnant women, and b- I don’t get the whole being scared for fun thing. No thanks. The guide did sort of roll his eyes when I raised my hand that we weren’t going on to the scary part. He can get over it. But the historical part was cool. It’s been rebuilt a few times, and was actually first built in Roman times. They had actors in character, instead of just dull guides, and got people involved (like a display on William Wallace’s execution where she handed one person his “entrails” and had another person put his head on a spike). The only bit I didn’t like was the end. For reasons that were unclear but had nothing to do with the bridge, they had a see through walkway through a room that appeared to be spinning (left to right over your head, not around in circles. Rolling might be a better word), and it almost made me sick. Even with my eyes closed I could have sworn I was falling to the right and was about to be flipped on my head. Makes me a bit sick thinking about it. That was the last bit though.
 
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I also might clarify now, that for at least the last 4 days I’ve been feeling sort of dizzyish. Well, not exactly dizzy. You know how when you’re on a plane and it’s almost but not quite perfectly smooth? That sort of just barely moving around constantly, with maybe the occasional slightly more dramatic dip? I feel like that all the time. Mostly not effecting anything, just making me feel a little dizzy. But being on something like that along with the weird feeling was definitely not awesome.
 
Anyway, after that we headed back and first we placed an order at papa johns (awesome, right?) and then picked up our laundry from the place. Then we got some more milk from the market, by which time I was so hungry I thought I might actually die, so I opened the milk on the way back and drank some. Then we picked up the pizza and I almost burned my mouth eating it before we made it across the street to the hotel. Our room is literally the first room you can get to, and I still couldn’t wait. So hungry. 
 
But that brings us up to date, since I started this email when I finished my pizza and now it’s time for a shower, as it’s getting late.

Trip to Europe- Train and London- Day 6

We only had the two days in Edinburgh, so alas, we had to leave. Yesterday morning we got up and headed for the train station. We took a cab, but it was like 5 blocks so oops. It was thankfully very easy to find our platform, and a nice lady told us we needed to go further down because we were in first class and that’s at the front. It was definitely worth it to have paid the bit extra for first class. We had bigger seats and a table and food. And the lady across from us (sharing our table) had her dog with her so we got to pet the dog and he slept on our feet some. That’s the first dog we’ve really gotten to pet a lot. (We miss our puppies, but the friend watching them says they’re doing well. But Link has gotten protective. When he’s in her lap, and her dog comes over, he growls at the poor fella. ^_^) The train trip was fun, but it got hot towards the end. I guess the air was out, because it was supposed to be air conditioned. But the views were great and the food was good, and the people were nice, and I enjoyed it immensely. 
 
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The train arrived in London at King’s Cross station, which is where the Hogwart’s Express in Harry Potter runs from. We took a picture of the little display they have up, and it made me happy. The station also had queues for the taxis, instead of having to hail them on the street, and that was a great idea. More places should do that.
 
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We went to the hotel, which did let us check in early, and our room is much more what you’d expect for a mid-range hotel back home. Comfy bed, little couch (which I’ve been sitting on all the time for eating and writing this email and stuff), decent size bathroom. And I haven’t showered yet but Christopher says the water’s all crazy hot here too. So that’s good.

Firstly we went in search of some means of doing laundry. We needed non-smelly pants. There were no laundromats but the dry cleaners up the street does laundry for 18 pounds per quite large bag, so we dropped most of our things off there. Then we got some milk (you’d be surprised how hard it is to get milk. None of the restaurants offer it), and, of all things, some garlic bread from papa john’s. Hey, it was right across the street from the hotel, and I’ve been going crazy for garlic bread lately. Then I took a brief nap before dinner. 

 

Around 5:30 we headed up for a medium long walk up to the Globe Theater. It’s an exact scale replica of the original, with the standing room for cheap and everything. We needed to pick up our tickets before dinner. So we did that (and Christopher was mean. I used the loo (^_^) while he got the tickets and when I came out he said the travel agent booked the wrong night and we couldn’t go. He even got the face right, because he worked on it while he was waiting. Normally I can tell when he’s lying. Not funny Christopher! But he was lying so all was well. (He insists that I explain that he was not lying, he was ACTING, because we were going to a play. ^_^)), and then went to dinner.
 
There was a greek place that looked good (have you noticed we ate at weird places for where we were? Italian in Paris, Mexican in Edinburgh, Greek in London.), so we went there. I wasn’t really hungry (I *might* have eaten almost all the garlic bread), but I had some very tasty hummus.
 
Then it was time for our show. We rented cushions because the seats are just wood (authentic, and there’s no roof), and I got a blanket too. It wound up being just about perfect with the blanket. All the people kept it warm enough, and there was a teeny breeze so it didn’t get hot. I also got some hot chocolate. Our seats were cheaper because we were behind a beam in front of us, but you know how much people move around in plays. They never stayed behind it on the tiny section of stage we couldn’t see for more than a second or two. The play was excellent. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been my favorite Shakespeare play for about 15 years, and even Christopher loved it, and he expected it to be meh. You know how it is with Shakespeare. You can’t really understand half of what they say, but good actors use body language and all enough so that you get it. And it’s a really funny play. 
 
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Afterwards it was pretty late, so we went back and passed out. Well, I had a snack first. ^_^

Trip to Europe- Edinburgh- Day 5

The next day was one I was quite looking forward to, and turned out to be just as fun as I’d hoped. We had a tour into the Highlands!
Actually, it was supposed to be up to St. Andrew’s and a whiskey distillery and such. But we were the only ones who booked, and they don’t run a whole tour for two people. They had the other tour (which I actually wanted more, but Christopher did so much that I wanted on this trip that I was totally okay with the first one that he liked better (and I don’t mean he didn’t like the one we did do, we had a hard time picking in the beginning so he wasn’t that sad)), but it only had one seat left. And then someone cancelled, so we got in! (By the way, all this changing happened wed or thurs last week.) Yay for Hairy Coo tours! A hairy coo is a shaggy Scottish cow. Very cute.
We met at this little pub on the Royal Mile and we got there early because I wanted to sit up front, which I got to. I like being up front with tours, so I can ask lots of questions. They’re paid to answer my questions! ^_^ The little bus was bright orange! The tour guide was really awesome and went over tons of stories and history and stuff, right from the start while we were still in Edinburgh. Since we were going to the Wallace Monument, his primary focus was on the William Wallace/Robert the Bruce story of how Scotland got started. He focused a lot on correcting the (absurd) information in Braveheart, which was both interesting and amusing. He was also a strongly opinionated member of the Scottish National Party (mentioned in the book!), which is very much for Scottish independence. And, turns out there’s actually a vote coming up on that on September of next year. Which could matter to us, because if they do, they need tax software, and Fast is interested. And be warned, if ANY opportunity to move to Scotland comes up, we’re so going. That’s not just me and my obsession with Scotland since elementary school either. Christopher loved it too. So be prepared. We may retire there too. (Not kidding!)
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So, that was a rabbit trail. Anyway, firstly we went to the Forth bridge. It’s pretty old, maybe 1800’s? And there’s a less pretty bridge too, which was built more recently-ish. It, unfortunately, started to fall apart (the little fibers making up the cables started to rust and break), so they’re in the process of building a new one. Only now they say they figured out how to fix the breaking one, so it may be a very expensive and unecessary bridge. ^_^
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I also peed on this break, and started to notice that their toilets here don’t flush very well. A teensy trickle doesn’t even get the paper down. Oh well. Also, a lot of the bathrooms in the UK have toilet paper that feels like normal, only it comes out in sheets like tissues. It’s kind of nice, since sometimes you need a second hand to keep from accidentally getting way too much when you go to tear it off when it’s on a roll. And one last note, almost all the public restrooms here have locks that indicate whether the stall is occupied, like a portapotty or airplane bathroom. That’s VERY handy. No looking under every stall, or standing in line and no one realizes one is open.
Then we went to the William Wallace monument. It’s quite big, and sort of in the middle of nowhere so it has some really nice views. I’m glad we took the little shuttle to the top of the hill it’s on though, because again, VERY steep going. We walked down, and it was the first place I noticed that had little side paths off the paved part. I wandered off down some, which was fun.
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Then we stopped along the side of the road by Stirling Castle. It takes several hours to really see the castle properly, so the tour doesn’t stop there for real. It was a nice view though.
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Then we stopped by “the only lake in Scotland.” Basically it’s a loch like the rest, but there was a translation error when they first started mapping the area and it wound up being named a lake. It was quite pretty. And it was right in the tour guide’s home village, so it was extra neat. He pointed out where his buddies lived, and his mom and such.
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Then we went to this other little cute village up the road for lunch. We went to a little pub and had some yummy sandwiches. They could have used more sauce though, which I’ve noticed seems to be common here. A bit skimpy on the condiments/sauces. We got some ice cream and went to the little shops, like the Christmas shop and the candy shop. ^_^
Then we stopped at a random little spot just in the highlands that had a nice view. (We stopped at a lot of odd little places that are just pretty, in case you couldn’t tell.)
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Then we were looking for hairy coos, and stopped to feed the ones they actually know. The guide had two loaves of bread and we got to give it to them. There were two full growns ones and a baby that came up to the fence to be fed. One adult was calm, but the other kept trying to shove her out of the way to get more bread for herself. It was cute. I was a little scared to feed them (those teeth are big!), but they just grab it with their tongues. Cute! The baby was only a month old, so too little to want any bread. For the record, coos are WAY better than sheep. The coos were the pretty much sole basis for the highland economy before the Rising in 1745. After all that, the English killed off the coos to cripple the highlanders, and sheep were moved in since the land isn’t good for farming. Now there’s twice as many sheep in Scotland as people, and they really are *everywhere*. But they’re the invader’s animals, so coos are clearly better.
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Then we went to Loch Katrine, and had almost an hour to walk around. I climbed on some rocks (as best I could in a skirt) and petted a very wet dog who had been for a swim. I also had some crisps (chips!). ^_^
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Then we went to see “wee Hamish,” the most famous hairy coo in Scotland. He’s apparently been on tv and things a lot. He’s 20 years old, and the oldest recorded coo was 22, so he might even set a new record!
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Then we went to Duine Castle, which is where they filmed Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Side note, it’s another mistranslation. Duine means castle, so it’s named “castle castle.” We couldn’t go in, because they were closing, but we walked around a lot. I found another of those little paths and we wandered off a bit again. Also, before they closed the gift shop I found this kid’s book called “Kaitie’s Coo” and it had all these little rhymes but they were written in “Scottish” so it was all “the moose in the hoose” and such. But they were closing and I didn’t have time to decide to get it, and I was sad after, but then I made sure to remember the name and it’s on Amazon so I am SO getting it. We laid in the grass for a bit, and that’s where the picture of me with the “toilet” sign was taken. I figured I should have at least one picture of that sort, since I’ve spent half the trip looking for those signs.
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That was our last stop, so we headed back. We took the motorway, which made me smile when he said it. He also played some music which was cool. There was Loch Lomond and another from the book, which I’ve read but not heard. And the Scottish countryside is really, really pretty. There are all these beautiful yellow fields, which are apparently rapeseed (I’ve seen rapeseed oil in a lot of things), and the bracken is yellow too. There are bluebells, though it’s apparently late for them so we got lucky with the unseasonably cool weather so we got to see them. And we saw the heather, which covers tons of hills, and it turns purple in the fall, so I bet it’s even prettier then. Prettiest country I’ve ever seen. Oh, and at one of the stops we found a hairy coo shotglass for our souvenir, so that made me very happy.
We went to a pub of sorts for dinner when we got back. That was the first good food we got in the Uk. I had a meat pie, and Christopher had mussels. Yum!
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