Saturday: Traveling to London
Saturday was an overwhelming and emotional day to say the least. We woke up early thanks to our baby alarm clock, 6:15 on the dot. Our morning started out just like always a bottle of milk and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for Jackson and a big cup of coffee for Mommy.
Shortly after our morning snuggle it was time to start the packing. Yes that’s right, we hadn’t started packing yet. The majority of the items we had to take with us were every day use items so we decided better to just pack everything in the AM.
Not long after starting, my best friend Alyssa, stopped by with her son Levi and I couldn’t have happier for the interruption. I was already starting to get emotional and stressed about the long day ahead and a distraction was just the ticket!
Our boys are just three days apart and I wish that we lived closer to watch them grow up together just as we had. These two always have a wonderful time playing together and never without lots of giggles, running and big smiles! When it came time to say our farewells, we gave each other big hugs and hope that we can see each other soon.
Before I knew it, it was back to packing and less than a couple of hours till we had to hit the road. And let me tell you those last couple of hours simply flew by! During that time I managed to scarf down some pancakes and bacon my Dad made for everyone and take a quick shower.
Jackson was getting tired after all that playing and we planned to be on the road for his nap. So Ryan got to packing up the car and then it was time to say so long to our parents. This is where things got tough. There wasn’t a dry eye in the group. After spending the past six weeks with my parents, it made the whole leaving part so much worse. With Jackson buckled in, we headed towards Toronto to catch our flight.
The drive went by quickly, thanks to an easy crossing at the border in Niagara Falls and a very sleepy baby, we made it to the airport.
Ryan and I loaded up two carts full of luggage and the car seat, and then Jackson rode along in the stroller.
Air Canada was amazing at getting us checked in quickly and with minimal fees for the extra baggage. Once we were finished with checking into our flight, Ryan went to return the rental car and Jackson and I hung out with our carry on bags and had a snack. To keep a stuck in the stroller melt down from occurring we dug through the diaper bag for entertainment. After finding his sunglasses in a pouch, putting them on and taking them off killed the time until Daddy was back and we could make our way to security.
I’m not going to lie, I had some serious anxiety about going through with a 15 month old and bunch of random items in our bags. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait terribly long in line, especially since they opened a new line just as Jackson was getting antsy. The security staff was very friendly and understanding. They directed us on what needed to come out of our bags (food pouches, water cup, baby sunscreen) and then allowed us to walk through. On the other side they helped us gather our items and I couldn’t have been more surprised by their caring nature.
Our terminal was on the smaller side with limited food options. We chose to hangout in the Air Canada lounge for a bit and let Jackson run around while grabbing a quick bite to eat. Ryan and I took turns between watching Jackson and eating. He loved all the people and everyone was very sweet even though he was screeching and running around.
After Jackson blew off some steam we went in search of milk and some real food. Ryan went to order us burgers and I stopped at another place to grab milk and a green smoothie. Jackson has a slight obsession with green smoothies, so I knew if he didn’t eat anything else that would at least be a hit!
Since the food options were limited, the lines at these places were incredibly long. I entertained Jackson and we enjoyed our smoothie. Ryan came back with our food, burger and fries for him and I split a turkey burger and fries with Jackson. I had also packed the rest of his steamed zucchini and carrots from my parents and thankfully I did. The turkey burger was pretty thin and dry and so Jackson wasn’t a big fan. The veggies however were being scarfed at lightening speed. Like I mean by the handful! This kid LOVES zucchini and carrots. And now french fries, I mean chips ?.
We gathered our things, cleaned up and headed off to board our flight. Little did we know that once we got in line for boarding that we would be delayed almost a half hour! There’s nothing worse than being delayed while you are standing in line and the gate is so packed with people that even if you wanted to go sit down, there wasn’t any space open.
Finally we were able to board the plane but that wasn’t much better. Since we were sitting in business class, I was able to start getting our seat organized for the seven hour flight. But when I went to change Jackson’s diaper in the plane’s bathroom we came to find out they didn’t have changing tables! Now this was our first time flying with Jackson but I honestly thought these would be available in the bathrooms. So I went back to our seat, pulled out the changing pad and changed him on my seat. Not ideal but it worked!
It felt like an eternity until the doors were being closed and were told to talk our seats to prepare for takeoff. Jackson was an infant on lap for this flight since it was overnight and I was praying he would sleep most of it. Although it took forever for us to pushback, taxi to the runway, and eventually take off. Once in the air, Jackson was getting sleepy and I gave him some milk to drink to help with the ear pressure. Not long after he drifted off and I laid him down on my outstretched seat. This worked remarkably well for the first couple of hours. I was able to enjoy a glass of wine and some cheese and fruit while watching Big Bang Theory before he woke up. He wasn’t too comfortable and wanted to roll but didn’t have the space. So with about 3 hours left in our flight and an empty seat next to me, I made the decision to give Jackson my full lay down seat and I sat across the aisle and watched him. This worked out perfect and he slept the entire rest of the flight. I grabbed a light breakfast of fruit, orange juice, yogurt and a croissant which perked me back up. I hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours by this point and was starting to feel it.
Then it was time to get back in my seat and prepare for landing. Still sleeping, I picked up Jackson and laid him across me, he slept until I woke him up to get off the plane.
Customs didn’t take long thanks to short lines and us being prepared with our paperwork and passports. From there we walked for what seemed liked miles to collect our luggage. All seven checked bags, the car seat, and our two carry-on bags. Ryan arranged for a car service to pick us up, knowing that we’d be tired from traveling and it was an hour and a half drive from Heathrow to Canary Wharf.
We quickly got loaded up into the van and began the drive across the city. Along the way we saw Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, and the London Eye. I’m looking forward to visiting each during our stay!
Sunday: Our first day in London
And just like that we arrived at our new home. The driver helped us get our luggage loaded into the elevator and up to our apartment. Exhausted and hungry we decided to relax and worry about unpacking later.
While Ryan and Jackson played in the living room, I decided to get his nursery set up with familiar items. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to the new place, but I’m truly excited about this new chapter.
It wasn’t before long that Bub needed a nap and I was ready to crash as well. Once he was asleep Ryan and I curled up in bed and got a nap ourselves. Nearly three hours later, Jackson was still asleep and although I could have slept all day, I wanted to have a decent chance at sleeping that night so we got up and ready to do some shopping.
Ryan quickly learned how to drive on the opposite side of the road while he’s been here and it was nice to be out and about on our own. Our first stop was Mothercare to pick up a new set of baby monitors since the plugs and voltage are different in the UK we couldn’t bring our old set. Baby stores are certainly much different here, than back in the States. Options are more limited for some things and the stores are quite small. We are learning fast that ordering on Amazon is both quicker and cheaper. And we don’t have to fight crowds or traffic. Win-win!
After that we headed to Ikea to pick up some basic household items. What we thought would be a quick trip was not. The store was so packed full of people you could hardly walk through let alone navigate with a cart. As we rushed through the store we managed to make it all the way to the checkout only to realize we had forgotten the one thing we came for, a bumper for Jackson’s crib (insert facepalm here). With a fussy baby and big crowds, I decided to go back myself to find it. I quickly found the shortcut back, grabbed the bumper and a couple of other finds along the way, and was back in no time. Thank goodness the checkout lines were short and we got out of there.
Our last stop was the grocery store, Sainsbury’s. Getting used to the different foods and brands is going to take some time. Especially when trying to find foods that Jackson loves. I’m hoping that if we try a few different stores we will be able to find most of what he likes and maybe a few new things too.
Once back home we got dinner ready for Jackson and he was happy to eat and watch some shows on TV. Feeding a squirmy little boy on the couch proved harder than I thought, and we instantly ordered a high chair on Amazon.
Then it was off to bed for the little guy and he couldn’t have been happier to be back asleep.
While I was putting him to bed, Ryan had ordered us food from Gourmet Burger Kitchen to be delivered. While we waited for it to arrive we cracked open a bottle of wine and turned on season 3 of The Ranch on Netflix. Catching up on our favorite shows, having a delicious burger, and drinking a big glass of wine was the perfect way to end our first day.
All in all our travels were a success and I couldn’t be more proud of how Jackson handled everything. He’s such a trooper!! That’s all for now but I’ll be back soon!