The geekyfamily have just returned safely from an exhilarating, exhausting and stomach content expelling trip to my homeland, England.
The occasion was the Ruby Wedding celebration of my lovely mum and dad, but any trip to the UK, rare as they are for us these days, must be filled to the brim with catch up visits to as many friends as can be squeezed in, so we had a packed schedule. We arrived on the Thursday, on the overnight flight from SFO to Heathrow. Geekdaddy managed to negotiate the roundabouts and highways driving on the other side of the road, and we made it to my parents house, always such a pleasure to visit since it is also my childhood home. Well, since the ejection of us kids, it has transformed into a far more elegant and well furnished version of the home I knew, complete with a floral masterpiece of a garden my mum should enter into competitions. All the old toys we knew and loved are still there though, and the kids felt instantly at home and got stuck into playing the fisher price A frame house, with all its tiny bobble headed occupants.
Friday the kids were settled enough with Grandad and Grandma that we had the luxury of leaving them in their capable hands. We took the train into London to meet up with my college friends. It had been so long since I had been in the city, the place where I went to study at age 18 and as well as learning a lot about Biochemistry, began my adult journey through the world of love, friendship, heartbreak and hard partying. We had a wonderful evening of good food and great stories. Either our eyes are failing, or we all still look fabulous. I'm voting for the latter. The kids did great, the only incident arose from an American/English translation. Geekygirl told grandma she wanted to go to the potty. Grandma heard instead that she wanted to go to the 'party'. And told her that she could go tomorrow! My confused daughter exclaimed "but I need to go pee pee", at which the misunderstanding became apparent and thankfully no accidents ensued!
Saturday was the day of the party. We spent the morning visiting my brother and his wife's elegant, charming new home, and preparing the powerpoint slides and speech we planned to give that evening. Back at my parents again the whirlwind of party prep was in full sway. Finally we were ready to go. Geekygirl, adorable in her lemon yellow party dress, having recovered in the nick of time from her travel induced constipation which almost threatened her attendance at the event. I was dressed up in a lovely silk dress and heels, and had just scooped up Geekybaby, handsome and sweet in ironed shirt and corduroys, when he calmly threw up what seemed like everything he had eaten in the past week all over me and himself.
What to do? Well after coming all this way, we had to go to the party, just five minutes walk away. We washed him and me down, found fresh clothes (Thank goodness for a glamourous looking cheap gold top from target I had thrown in at the last minute, and my black work trousers). Once there we ensconced the vomitty one with his dad in the darkened lobby with a roll of paper towels, and then took it in turns staying with our sick little boy. Geekybaby is such a trouper, he was quite calm and relaxed as long as he had someone to snuggle, and dozed off between bouts of sickness and yucky diapers.
Geekygirl and her cousins had a whale of a time, fueled by cake and disco music and my brother the fairground ride (never start spinning small kids around at a party unless you plan on doing it all night). Though the lack off attention from her parents combined with all the excitmenet led to a wet pants incident, and a change into the only spare clothes I had, her brothers dinosaur T shirt and leggings! By the end of the party Geekybaby was better, and even socialized a little before we staggered home. The only family member still in his or her original party outfit was Geekydaddy.
It was a wonderful occasion, family and friends of my parents all gathered to wish them well. I only wish I been able to enjoy a little more of it.
Sunday was a wonderful family day, my sisters three girls (aged 5, 3 and 10 months) and our two ran riot around the house, raiding the chocolate biscuit tin and becoming best friends, breaking up, and become best friends again every 30 minutes, while we adults indulged in wine and lunch and conversation. On Monday the bone chilling British drizzle was broken by a lovely sunny day, which was just as well since we had planned a trip to a local farm/childrens playground with my sister and I's oldest friend, Lucy, who grew up a few houses away and now has two girls aged 4 and almost 2. We ran around after our kids and caught up on each other lives in snatched moments of conversation between petting sheep, preventing kids from eating sheep food, and supervising them hurling themselves down the most fantastic helter skelter, an entertainment that would surely be banned in the US due to potential lawsuits.
The weekend would have been perfectly completed by the lovely takeaway curry we enjoyed that night, had geekybaby's vomitting disease not infected me and kept me up all night regurgitating it. Exhausted, but no longer throwing up, we set off for the airport, the children so sad to leave this newly beloved haven that is Grandma and Grandads house.
We were all checked in and ready to head through to the waiting are to collapse and let the kids terrorize fellow passengers, when a security alert has us evacuate the terminal! Fortunately I had one set of small toys not yet broken into, and was able to keep the peace by offering some Dora the explorer action figures and some of grandmas sweeties to our superb junior travellers. Whatever happened it was soon over, and we were led back in as efficiently as we were herded out. And 11 long hours and many watches of "Dora saves the ice princess" later we were back in San Francisco.
I'll end this post with my favourite moment from the speech my siblings and I gave at the party. Here's a picture we showed of my sister and I with my folks spending, and I paraphrase what my sister said "one of many weekend afternoons spend sitting outside a pub. Of course if it was raining my parents would go into the pub and leave us in the car, with a bottle of fizzy pop and a packet of crisps and strict instructions not to touch the handbrake"