As most of you know, our life in London is coming to a close. We will all three be leaving here on Saturday. This has been an amazing experience and I know we will look back on it with fond memories that we will always treasure. Although it hasn't always been easy, it was an opportunity of a lifetime. I probably have the only two year old in America who can look at pictures, even on a Kleenex package, and identify the Eiffel Tower. We've all been able to experience so much together as a family and have each gained personal strength as well. I know I'll have to work to help Christopher keep these memories, but that what's pictures are for right? Here is a slide show containing most of the pictures we have taken during our time here. Some of them are duplicates from previous posts but some will be new to you. Enjoy it if you have time to watch the whole thing!
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Sunday, 25 November 2007
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am so inspired by worship in other parts of the world. I've now been able to worship the Lord in three different churches while I have been here and I think today's service was the most remarkable. We went to church at St. Paul's this morning. Just setting foot inside the beautiful cathedral is a very spiritual experience, but imagine being in there and hearing a choir sing hymns with a booming organ in the background. It was truly a moving experience. Most of the service consisted of hymns, but there was a short sermon, and then we got to partake in communion. I know that as Christians, our work is never done in spreading the word of Jesus Christ, but it sure is comforting to me to witness how deep the roots of God are, even in other countries.
Unfortunately, we are experiencing technical difficulties with our card reader again and are having trouble getting pictures downloaded. Therefore, I don't have any new pics to post. Actually, we really didn't take that many pictures today. I guess that means I've been here too long if the sights aren't seeming picture worthy anymore!! HA!
Lastly, I have a "what are the chances" story to share with you. Yesterday, we were eating lunch at the Texas Embassy in Trafalgar Square (a decent attempt at Tex-Mex but it really just made us want to come home and get the real thing). After we had been there for a little bit a cute family of four (mom, dad, and two boys that looked to be about 2 or 3 years apart) got seated at the table across from us. I am very intrigued by families with two little boys because I have this gut feeling that I am looking into my own personal crystal ball when I see them. So, I sort of seemed like a crazy person and kept staring a little bit every now and then. I even caught the mom noticing my stares, so I had to force myself to stop. Well, when we were leaving the restaurant, they actually stopped us, to ask us a question and we ended up talking for a bit. Not enough to exchange names and numbers or anything, but polite pleasantries about each other's kids and pregnancies (she was pregnant too). Well, would you believe me if I told you that in a city of seven and a half million people, we saw the same family again today in the service at St. Paul's...sitting about eight seats away from us?!? I mean really, what are the chances??
Posted by The Locke Family at 15:50
Friday, 23 November 2007
Thursday was another fantastic day! For those of you who read my earlier post about our bus tour disaster, you will be happy to know that we were able to complete the tour and really enjoyed it. The sun was shining and we found seats on the top deck of the bus so we could see everything. We also had a live guide (our other bus had been an audio tour) and we all learned lots of interesting facts about central London. When our tour was over we finished our day at The National Gallery. We all enjoyed looking at paintings from centuries ago.
Edie, Doc, and Christopher on The Original Bus Tour through central London.
Posted by The Locke Family at 13:54
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Posted by The Locke Family at 14:44
Monday, 19 November 2007
Inside what is known as The Jewel House are the Crown Jewels. Behind vault doors, encased in glass cabinets are some of the most beautiful stones you have ever seen set into crowns, swords, and scepters. We saw a 530-carat Star of Africa, a diamond placed on the top of the Royal Sceptre; boy was that a sparkler!! The crowns we saw had so many jewels I couldn't help but wonder how heavy they must be to actually wear on top of you head.
Here we are outside Tower of London, with the famous Tower Bridge in the background.
While Tower of London was the main attraction of our day, we did manage to accomplish a few other things. We saw Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Overseas visitors are not allowed inside those buildings but we took a few good pictures from the outside.
I think my personal favorite for the day was helping my mom experience her first tube ride!! Those of you that know my mother can appreciate what this must have been like for me. While we were waiting for our first train to arrive, she must have asked me three times if we were going to be going underground on this trip. I also had to assure her that the tube doesn't really move any faster than a car at any given time on a route. Really, she did great and I know she enjoyed herself once three teenage British chippies sat down across from us and she was able to eavesdrop on their conversation for the remainder of our ride.
Bus fare to get to tube station = 2 pounds
Cost of Oyster card = 3 pounds
To travel by tube in London for a week = 20 pounds
Being with Mom on her first tube ride = Priceless
Posted by The Locke Family at 13:49
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Mom, Fan Man, Christopher, and Stephanie outside St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The Locke family poses with one of the castle guards.
Cory had already taken the tour of the castle on one of his previous trips over here this fall. Therefore, we really didn't take that many pictures today. Not to mention the weather has turned very cold and we weren't outside that much. As you might could guess there is no photography allowed in the State Apartments. So if you want to get to see the fine china patterns and royal wedding photos, book your airline tickets!!
Posted by The Locke Family at 14:39
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
The T-Rex is behind us here. I don't understand when you ask someone to take your picture why it would not be implied that I would want the dinosaur in the background but I guess I should have specified.
Next, we made our way through the Mammal exhibit I mentioned above. We walked into a room filled with so many life-sized replicas of elephants, giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and an enormous whale hung from the ceiling that covered the entire span of the room. It was quite impressive. I managed to get a few photos of Christopher with the animals but most of the time he was too interested in them to look at me.
We also explored the Planet Earth exhibit, the Creepy Crawly room filled with bugs and spiders, the Bird hallway, and the Human Body exhibit (my personal favorite as there was lots to see about the development of a baby). It was a great day!
On a separate note, I must no longer have the word "tourist" written across my face when I get out among the people here. Twice today, I had someone ask me for directions at the tube stations!! The really exciting part is that I know with 100% confidence that I answered their questions correctly! Well, actually I am only about 75% sure on the second lady, but she had a foreign accent and I had a hard time understanding her. At any rate, it was an exciting moment for me.
Posted by The Locke Family at 07:52
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
I was walking down the streets in Richmond and could hear some charming music up ahead of me. I thought to myself, 'How nice, they are already getting festive over here for Christmas.' When I got closer I could actually see that it was only one man playing an accordion!! Do they even make accordions in America anymore? I think my mom and/or my aunt took accordion lessons as a child. Too bad neither of them can entertain us with some music this Christmas!!
Posted by The Locke Family at 06:57
Monday, 12 November 2007
Cory and Christopher outside Notre Dame.
So Baby Locke will one day know that he/she has been to Paris too!
Our little romantic moment.
Posted by The Locke Family at 06:16
Thursday, 8 November 2007
On a more serious note, Christopher and I visited Kew Gardens today. This is a 300-acre botanical garden owned by the Royal Family. It is home to some of the most extraordinary plants on the planet. The grounds were truly beautiful, even though the weather wasn't that great.
Today I decided to abandon the stroller and do the baby-wearing again. It is so much easier getting downstairs in our apartment (there is no "lift" here), and getting on and off the bus and train. However, wearing my 30 pound boy does start to hurt my back eventually so Christopher was a real trooper today and he did lots of walking!!
As you might imagine, he was not too interested in the exotic plants, although the leaves and trees were a real treat for him. We spent most of our time there in the "Climbers and Creepers" playground, a unique interactive indoor botanical play area. He had a great time on the slide, playing in the dirt pit, and watching the butterflies.
I know there were lots of areas I didn't get to see of the Royal Gardens but at some point you have to decide whether you are there to sight see or entertain your child!
Posted by The Locke Family at 07:46
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
Today I had the opportunity to see what the local stay-at-home-mums do with their kids. The church we attended last Sunday hosts a group called The Little Bunch, a playtime for toddlers and mums. It operates on a "first come first served" basis, accommodating around 20 mums and their kids. So I headed over there around 9:30 this morning to see if there were any spots still available, and there happened to be just one left when I got there.
We met in the church from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. There were a variety of toys and activities set up for the kids and chairs lined the walls for the mums to sit in. Here's the part that I really got a kick out of. About halfway through, a sweet little old lady came around and took tea or coffee orders from all of the mums Then we moved into another room and had tea and biscuits!! (the kids had juice or water, not tea) It was great. All the kids sat around a table in chairs and enjoyed their biscuit and juice while the mums stood behind them and sipped their tea. I really wanted to take a picture but I was already feeling foreign enough and I didn't think snapping a photo like a tourist would help me out.
I was glad I went. Christopher seemed to enjoy the interaction with the other kids. He gets tons of that at home and for the past week his only friends have been his Mommy and Daddy. At any rate, the mums over here do basically the same thing we moms do in the states...they just get to do it with a really cool accent!!
Posted by The Locke Family at 14:15
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
I personally, do not. I believe when "coincidental" things happen that the Lord is trying to show you something, answer a prayer, help you see something in a different way, etc.
Posted by The Locke Family at 07:14
Monday, 5 November 2007
Posted by The Locke Family at 07:13
Sunday, 4 November 2007
Everyone looks forward to a good weekend right? We spend our whole week counting down the days until one gets here. The best thing about the weekends when you are new to a foreign country, you have a two year old and another one on the way, is that your husband will be around to hang out with you!
Posted by The Locke Family at 13:26