I refer not only to the fact that I haven't updated A Puppet Opera in more than a week, but also that Grandma and Grandpa Manley have now gone home. Boo. It seemed like three weeks was going to be a reeeeeeeeally long, how-will-we-fill-the-time-style visit, but somehow, it's all gone and they're back home in Joliet, and we are all tired and sad around these parts. We were so delighted they could come over and stay with us for so long, especially because they were such a huge help to us in Isabelle's first month. Although sadly, Isabelle got too used to sleeping on Grandma's lap, and now refuses to sleep anywhere but a lap-shaped object.
While they were here we had many fun adventures, including Isabelle's first Tube ride, her first visit to Kew, first taste of sauerkraut and first castle. Here are Grandma and Grandpa on a rare sunny day (it was raining and cold for almost their entire visit), standing in front of Windsor Castle:
One big annoyance about living where we do, is that we always have to take a string of various types of public transport to get anywhere. A bus to a train to another train and up six flights of steps journeys are not uncommon, and that's fine if you are not a grandparent and unused to that kind of travel. If anyone from London Transport is reading this, I hope they understand that some people travel with babies, and they need a break. Here are my dad and Isabelle and me gamely waiting for a bus to take us into town so we could go shopping. Isabelle was delighted with this solution because it meant she could ride in her carrier (loves it) but also because she knew there were presents waiting once we got there.
Another thing I would like to mention to the people who run the world is the severe lack of cute, affordable baby clothes available to us here. Where is the sweet Gymboree and Carter's stuff that you can get in America? Everything here seems to be both expensive and twee. And kind of tatty. Here is an example of something I would like to see for sale here: Aunt Susan sent over this cute, cute outfit from America. It's angora wool and so soft and fuzzy. Issy loves it. Please make clothes like this available to the babies of Britain. Please.
We got all dressed up for a day trip to Windsor Castle, which my mom and dad had always wanted to visit but never actually were able to on the other times they were here. Here are a few pictures of us all touring the castle, which Issy mostly missed because she was asleep in her carrier again. She'll be sorry about that one day!
The day included Isabelle's first trip to a pub for lunch. My mom took this photo, which is an on-location shot of those round-the-dinner-table photographs she takes every time my whole family is assembled for a big occasion. Not the best picture of my dad (who is a regular subject of those round-the-dinner-table pictures), but we were glad isabelle had the experience so she'll know how to react at Thanksgiving.
We ate a very decent steak and kidney pie; Issy was a good girl even though Jules was managing to take mouthfuls over her head!
Back at home we played with Isabelle's new Gymini (thanks, Grandma Shirley!)...
...And took naps. They're cute when they're that age, no?
We also visited with more friends and family, although to show photos of all of them would be boring to all but a few. But this one is worth showing off, the dapper young (possible future babysitter???) Charles Mogose bravely holding little Isabelle:
Our final big trip was down to Brighton to visit with Gran. We were able to corral both grandmothers for a photo with baby:
All in all, a successful visit. Even without a finished guest room. We are already planning our trip to America, so watch this space for further adventures!