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GOOD NIGHT/MORNING

September 06, 2016

I cannot drink caffeine past six o'clock pm, unless I want to be awake all night. I know this, but now and then I slip up. 

Today was an unbelievably productive one, and this afternoon I decided I deserved a little reward. On my way to the suburbs I drove through McDonald's and ordered a medium Dr. Pepper. I know all their drinks are only a dollar (and ten cents) - I could have had a large Dr. Pepper for the same price, but I only wanted a medium. They gave me a large. I told myself not to finish it. I drank some during my drive, in between a dozen rounds of The Wheels on the Bus - Peter's current favorite car ride distraction. By the time I made it to where I was going, I was nowhere near finishing that drink. It was five o'clock.

About an hour and a half later I was back in the car, headed to find a gas station with one of those massive vacuums. (found it, my car looks awesome right now.) My sweating Dr. Pepper was still in the cup holder, and I didn't think to check the time before I started drinking it again. I never did finish it all, but I finished enough. Enough that here I am at almost three in the morning, typing out my regrets.

Peter will probably wake up any minute for a bottle, and I'm actually so excited to see him! Hopefully trying to get him back to sleep will make me sleepy, too.

...aaand there he is!

PHILADELPHIA: ONE

August 31, 2016

*** These posts are brought to you by my really, really, really cool family who found out Stefan and I had broken our camera lens, knew how sad I would be to be camera-less at a family reunion, got together and bought me a fancy new lens, then surprised me with it as an early birthday present at the beginning of this trip. I KNOW. THE BEST.

^^^ outside Independence Hall

Back in the good old days, my dad spent two years of his young adult life serving in and around Philadelphia as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not so long after that, he, my mom, and my two oldest siblings lived in State College, Pennsylvania for a few years while my dad studied at Penn State University. So my family has lots of ties to Pennsylvania! When our church announced it would be building a new temple in Philadelphia, my dad said it would be his dream trip to go see it. So we did! All eighteen of us. 

^^^ COULD MY PARENTS BE ANY CUTER.

^^^ COULD MY NIECE BE ANY CUTER.

We started off our week with some national history! We saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley, and Benjamin Franklin's face everywhere we looked. We also saw a lot of gift shops, and I can't even blame that one on the kids. We had lunch at the Reading Terminal Market, where we ran into some cute sister missionaries who were headed home that same week. We walked our tails off, stopped for some yummy sodas, mentioned the word humidity three or four times, and took lots of pictures. Seriously, these are all from the first day, and we were there for a week:

^^^ when your fruit snacks do not want to open.

^^^ my mom bought some of the older grandkids these stuffed eagles, but then Peter got a hold of one and slobbered all over it.. so then it became Peter's, and my mom bought a new one for the original owner. i named him baldy and made sure he got in on the photo shoot action.

^^^ keepin' it real.

^^^ my current phone screensaver, if you hadn't already guessed it.

LONDON

August 28, 2016

There is already so much I've forgotten about our trip to London! Yikes. So I have to get this up now or it may never happen. These pictures definitely aren't in order, but here they are and I'll try to remember things as I go! Starting off with some classic Big Ben, phone booths, a little lion statue action in Trafalgar Square:

 ^^^ This was fun! (for Peter, obviously.) We stopped inside because, candy. And the employees were so great! They told us that Hardys inspired a lot of the ideas behind Honeydukes in the Harry Potter movies - some of the actors had even come in to visit and one girl met the guy who plays Dumbledore! Don't ask me his real name - his real name is Dumbledore! We told her how sad we were that we weren't able to get in to do the Warner Brothers Studio Tour of all the Harry Potter sets (tickets were sold out all week), and she told us there are actually a lot of other great places you can visit around London that inspired some of the movies! So we went to another Hardys, and they sent us around the corner to a tiny alley that inspired Diagon Alley. Going to try to stop saying "inspired" here soon. But also we bought really yummy candy here. Sweets, if you will. They let us sample as much as we wanted and we came away with lots of chocolate and some sherbet lemon, of course. Dumbledore!

 ^^^ Peter was still not feelin' it in Diagon Alley.

 ^^^ Probably because he needed his diaper changed. Whoops!

 ^^^ We met up with Stefan's friend from LDS Business College and her husband! The guys talked about soccer, we all ate pizza, good times. 

^^^ Then we met up with my two favorite BYU Rec Management girls! This was truly serendipitous. They were on a study abroad that went all over Europe, and we happened to be in London the exact same week. Plus we has just come from Iceland and they were headed there next, so we got to tell them all about it. I seriously love these two. They are the reasons I survived my business classes, my internship, my group projects.. And I'll never forget our Proper English Breakfast that morning with that lady's booming voice calling out orders. hahaha

 ^^^ SURPRISE! FOR ME! Stefan stayed up late one night researching Harry Potter walking tours around London, so we could go see more cool stuff that inspired (sorry) the movies. But in his research he found this tour company that buys a bunch of tickets for the studio tour and sells them through their own site. They drive you all the way out there on a Harry Potter themed bus (and play the first movie on little screens during the ride!) and give you three hours to wander through it all. It was seriously, seriously magical. Some of my favorites were the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore's office, the Great Hall, the Night Bus, the butterbeer, and literally everything else.

 ^^^ A cute street on our walk from our Airbnb to the tube stop. I want to remember that our Airbnb was kind of a stressful situation.. We rented a private room in a nice lady's flat. So we knew the owner would still be there, but we didn't know she had rented out a second extra room to another girl. It was all a little crowded, sharing one bathroom and the kitchen. Plus any time Peter cried at night we stressed out big time. The girls were both so nice, but we almost left after that first night. There really weren't any other good options available at that point so we stuck it out, but from now on I'm a big fan of renting the entire apartment when we can. Oh, also right when we showed up the owner asked to hold Peter and he started leaking through his diaper and his clothes! Her little British accent goes, "Oh, he's having a pee!" And I just about died, for multiple reasons. 

 ^^^ Tower Bridge was my favorite! It felt so very, London. I just wish I weren't standing like a goob in that picture.

 ^^^ This run-in was totally unplanned - Stefan's uncle, aunt, and cousins! We were walking along near the Tower of London and all the sudden Stefan makes eye contact with his cousin? I had told Stefan I knew we would run into someone he knew - it happens everywhere we go, and so many people visit London. It was bound to happen, aside from the meet ups we had actually planned. And I was right! 

^^^ LOOK how tiny Peter is! ee! Little baldy! This was a fun dinner in a Sherlock Holmes inspired restaurant. Stefan had fish n chips, I had chicken n waffles, and the table next to us was positioned so close to our own that we basically had dinner with the nice middle-aged couple sitting there. Seriously, they talked to us the whole meal. But they were sweet and we didn't mind at all.

Other things to remember.. I loved riding the tube and the buses! I wondered if those would live up to the hype - okay maybe there's no hype around them, but when I think of London I think of those things. So I wondered if it would really be as fun as I imagined to ride them, and it was! 

It was super cold and windy all week. We stopped into a lot of different Starbucks stores to buy a hot chocolate and get warm water for Peter's bottles. I was also still trying to nurse at this point, and it was all a ton of work. 

Stefan wanted a good scone and we hunted all week until we found one! Why don't more places in London sell scones? I also tried my first macaroon at the scone place, and that did not live up to the (very real) hype. Why does everyone love those so much? Because they're cute? I can get behind the cute I guess, but the taste itself didn't do much for me. And I had a raspberry one. And I love raspberry everything.

Oh, and next time we want to schedule an afternoon tea at the fancy afternoon tea place we stumbled upon. You need reservations days in advance, and also to be dressed better than we were. And also see a show! We wanted to see Lion King so badly, but what to do with a two and a half month old in a quiet theatre.. So, next time! Thanks for a fun week, London! PS: We took tons of great video in Iceland and London but haven't had one second to start putting it together. I think I may ask for Stefan to do that for my birthday or Christmas, sooo maybe we'll have them by the end of the year?