Todd Family Blog

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Anglophiles, Young and Old(er)

What a very special thing to be able to take Levi to see England with my parents!  It is a place that is near and dear to all of our hearts, where my Dad lived and was the first American singer in the Canterbury Cathedral Choir, where we have all been vacationing since I was 10, and now a place where my parents return annually, particularly the beautiful Cotswold area.  

I will let the pictures speak for themselves below...

Otherwise, the quotes keep comin' no matter what country we are in.  Top quote of the month though?  Easily when Brad took Levi to a restaurant restroom, and when another customer entered the restroom Levi looked right at the man and exclaimed, "Ohhhh!  You are just in time!"  Brad said it was easily one of the more awkward moments he's experienced.  
The man said nothing.

Levi Says:
  • [First words waking up:] A red light is not green.  It's red.  Where are we going today, Daddy?…We're going to England!
  • Look at all these things we're taking to England!  Such nice things!
  • Can we go through that green light?  Thank you!  Danke schön!  Are we in England?
  • [Directly upon our arrival in England, shuts himself in the living room with Neenie and Pappa and then:] Now we're all alone.
  • I need an ugga mugga!  I need Neenie's noses!
  • [Any time Neenie does something funny:] Ohhhhhhhhh, Neenie.
  • [Watching David Reed on the Colts constantly run kickoffs out of the end zone:] Stop bringing it out!! You are just a man!!!
  • [After we screamed loudly watching football and scared him:] Someday I'll be really tall and I'll scream really loud and Mommy and Daddy will be surprised.
  • We don't spit our tomatoes out.  Then Mommy would say, 'Oh, Levi.'
  • I'm a car!  I need a car wash! [runs to his room, then comes down the stairs] I'm washed and clean and shiny.
  • [Frequently whenever he is scared:] I was surprised!
  • [Watching videos of Oktoberfest:] Mommy and Daddy were proud of me for going on that ride.  'Cause I was a bit surprised….I'm proud of myself.
  • [Pictures/video of A Day Out with Thomas:] "I saw Percy in the shed.  The engines were really big and I was a bit….surprised." AND "Here comes Thomas.  He's puffing steam.  He looks happy to see me.  He keeps me safe."
  • I'm a breakdown train.  I'm helping Neenie get back on the track.
  • Maybe would it be okay if Neenie helped me make a track?  It will be curvy AND straight.  This will be true.
  • [In the middle of a walk, he sits down by a wall:] I will stay here by myself.  See ya'!
  • [Tired boy after dinner one night:] I want to get in Neenie and Papa's car and look out the window at the stars…..I see the stars.  They're so small.
  • [Walking in Stratford:] When Im a little bit older and a big kid and a little bit older, I would like some roller-skates.
  • [At breakfast with Neenie EVERY morning:] Dear God, thank you for this dinner…um…thank you for this breakfast.  In Jesus name, Amen.
  • [Brad asked him if he'd like to get down and ask to pet an approaching dog, Levi responds:] We have a bit of time.
  • Maybe at Chrimsas [his pronunciation] during the night Santa will come and put things under the tree for me.
  • Refers to Oktoberfest as "The Big Party" 
  • A computer is "compugher"
  • [Sniffs his Europe puzzle] Me: What does it smell like?  LT: Pieces.
  • Knows the presidents on each of the American coins and likes to tell me that they speak Quebecois in Quebec.  
  • [After visiting the bathroom when he was sick:] That must be the biggest poo I've ever had.  Papa might like to see it.
  • "May I…" is finally starting to stick.  (Yay!)
  • [When doing his puzzles of countries or states, always points to one and then:] What's there in ________?
  • [Playing with his track and cars:] I must be working hard!
  • [Talking about the whales in Fantasia 2000, "Pines of Rome":] I might like to listen to whales' music, when they go up.  Sometimes I wish I were a whale.  And I would go up with all these others and they would keep me safe from lightning.
  • [To Neenie when she asked him during the night if he needed to go potty:] I'll just wait until morning.
  • [Following Neenie and Papa's car:] I can see them.  They are not disappearing.

In other little kid news, England was apparently the magic trick to potty training.  We officially have a fully potty trained 3 year-old.  Collective sigh of relief.

He had been waiting to get in the car to go all day long and was SO excited for our overnight drive.  He slept all but about 3 of the 15 hours and his favorite part was, naturally, driving our car onto the Eurotunnel train to go under the English Channel.
Shortly after arriving in Chipping Campden, stretching our legs in a garden, that is if we could squeeze through the ancient door.
Levi's first walk around our very favorite English town, Chipping Campden.
Naturally, Neenie immediately found him a park and a tree to climb.
And dinner out that night.  A spectacular view and sunset, along with fantastic gastropub fare.
My boy who loves everything having his first bites of paté.
Magnificent English gardens are a little boy's dream - Surprising Neenie in the hedges….
Chasing Neenie….
And a cool castle-themed play area to boot.
Slipping away for a pint (well, half-pint for Dad) during nap time.
Renting a cottage allows for plenty low-key, cozy moments, like reading Henry and Mudge books with Neenie.
Levi didn't even make it to the opening hymn in church.  He got fussy so Brad took him outside, where Levi promptly fell asleep in the cemetery!  This is how we found them after the service!!
Eating Neenie's lovely lamb dinner with Thomas chopsticks.

Cheering on the Colts via laptop!
A day in Stratford Upon Avon.  Levi hitched a ride with Papa.
What better way to experience the birthplace and home of Shakespeare than to attend a book signing!  We got a copy of The Gruffalo signed for both ourselves and our Scottish friends who introduced us to the book.
Shakespeare's birthplace...
And the beautiful church which houses his grave.
In front of the grave
A night walk in Chipping Campden
After I told him "no" Levi dragged Neenie into a toy store just to "show" her this car garage….
A Day Out With Thomas.  
How fun to see Thomas himself in England!
At first Levi was a bit scared.  
The trains were a bit bigger than he expected. 
A ride on Thomas cheered him right up though.
The wonder of shaking Sir Topham Hat's hand.
A real, live breakdown train 
Getting friendly with James
Thanking Papa for a new Diesel 10 figure.
Diesel 10 wrangling some troublesome trucks

Brad and I did some wandering on our own too….Brad's favorite, the beautiful town of Snowshill
Parents' day out!  We made the most of it by heading to Bath and then on to Wells, two places I had always wanted to see.
On the way we tried to find a cup of coffee.  Despite the giant signs, this place had neither morning coffee nor a warm welcome.  Ah, well.
The simply amazing Roman baths in (the aptly named) city of Bath with the beautiful cathedral towering behind.  The baths go on and on and on and this is only a very small part of the whole complex they have discovered.  It is truly unbelievable and the tour was wonderful.

The cathedral.
And then on to the amazingly beautiful Wells cathedral where we were privileged to hear Evensong, the daily evening worship service.

Discovering our new favorite manor house, Charlecote Park.  Fantastic tour, beautiful grounds, even scones cooked over a fire in the real working kitchen.  Seriously, a Downton moment.  
Levi running to Papa
Later, another (of many) great gastropub meals.
Levi's lost in the willows in Burton on the Water.
The view from the window of our darling cottage.  We could see all the way to the church.  Always hard to leave, but looking forward to the next visit.