For Father's Day, we went to a friend's house for a BBQ. The boys were playing in the basement... Move over Red Hot Chili Peppers, you've got competition!!!!
Sam before the Braves game. He just looked too cute! I had to take a picture!
We left Sandy Balls on the last Friday of our trip. A bit sad as it will be at least a year until we see Nanny & Grandad again (they plan to come next year for one last trip to visit) and two years until we return to England. So, it was sad, but we were all happy to have had the time to spend together.
Our last weekend there we spent in Surrey with some Uni-mates of Rich's. They have a beautiful farm house that they were kind enough to open up to us. The kids thought they'd died and gone to heaven! I will apologize now because it was the end of the holiday and I did not get nearly enough pictures. I was tired!
Andy and Elaine's house is magnificent.
Sam loved feeding them.
We arrived on Friday and had a bit of time to relax. However, Andy and Elaine had a full day of events scheduled for us on Saturday.
Their kids were in the local Medieval Fair held by their local village, so we all went along to that. The kids were so tired, both fell asleep in the car on the 15 minute car ride to the car park. Sam was so tired, Rich carried him from the car park to the fair (about a 5 minute walk) and he continued to sleep for another 30 minutes!
We had lunch at a pub (surprise) across from the fair.
Then we all wandered across the street to watch the kids in the parade.
There was May Pole Dancing,
and all sorts of booths and wares being sold.
There was even a Punch and Judy show that the kids really loved!
It was a very full day... but it wasn't over yet! Andy and Elaine had bought us tickets to an outdoor concert where The Drifters and The Jones Gang performed. The concert was at The Hurtwood Park Polo Club, owned by Kenney Jones (from The Who). It was fantastic.
Elaine packed an amazing picnic, the kids played (well, Rich stayed back home with our kids -- our kids slept), we all danced and sang and ate and ate. It was a really fun time.
As you can imagine from the previous 6 posts, we were very tired from our two week holiday in England! On Sunday, we all chilled out at the pool and packed for our flight out the next day.
We had a great time visiting friends and family this trip! Each time we go back, it just gets better and better!
So, to all our friends and family out there that were kind enough to host us and let us intrude on their space for a time, thank you very much! We really appreciate it! And you are all welcome to our house any time you want!
After all the excitement of the first two days at Sandy Balls, our next two seemed relatively calm.
We went swimming in the mornings both days and had a great time splashing in the pool. The weather was not quite warm enough in the mornings for the outdoor pool so we only spent time at the indoor pool.
Josh lost a tooth on the Wednesday we were at Sandy Balls.
He was quite excited as the New Forest Faeries brought him a GBP 2 coin! "Mom, that's $4!!" I think the Faeries knew he was on vacation! He used the money to buy a fishing net that we put to good use later that afternoon.
We walked down one of the many walking paths at Sandy Balls to the river. The boys had a great time
putting their rods in the water and catching dirt fishing! It was a really nice walk and very pretty.
That night we all met at the local Sandy Balls Pub for a nice meal. England was playing Estonia in the Euro2008 Qualifier and the guys all wanted to stay up to watch it. Sam and I went home early, Josh came home at half time, and Rich came home after the game was through. England won 3-0 to put them in a good position in their Group Standings.
The next day (Thursday) we took the rest of the family back down to the river for more "fishing." This time, there were swans.
Sam and Luke kept fighting over the fishing nets.
Josh just wanted to catch a fish. All Josh talked about was how he went fishing with Grampa last year and can't wait to go again this year!
Luke is anxious to get his net in the water!
Even though the only thing biting were the flies and we had no luck catching fish, we still had fun!
After fishing we all went up to another pub (hmmm.... seems to be a theme...) for a meal. The boys played on the play structure for a bit before dinner.
We had a great time at Sandy Balls, but the end was also a bit sad. Our time in England was coming to a close and we were leaving family for a friends house for our final weekend. We did not go back to Nanny & Grandad's house, so saying goodbye was difficult.
It's hard living so far away from family. When you see how much the boys love their Nanny & Grandad (and vice versa) it makes leaving oh so much harder. Every time we leave England, we leave a bit of ourselves behind and anxiously await our next gathering.
Next up: The Final installment -- Walliswood
Tuesday, June 5th was a beautiful day! It was also Nanny's birthday!
We headed down to Sandbanks to spend the day at the beach.
The water was really cold.....
.....so we just put our feet in the water.
Of course, the bravest actually went in! All of Rich's niece's and nephews --- Sean, Sascha, Dan (Sasch's boyfriend), Ryan, Amy (Ryan's girlfriend), Leah and Jimmie (Leah's boyfriend) -- did go for a very cold swim. Brave souls!!!!!
The rest of us played on the very windy beach....
... more proof I was on vacation!
Luke (with his mom, Leah in the background), proudly displaying his sand castle!
Josh, doing I don't know what....
After lunch we went back home to prepare Nanny's BBQ dinner. We had the whole gang over to celebrate. The nieces and nephews stayed out in the sun too long and each one came sporting a nice bright red sunburn.... Sam did not make most of the barbecue. He flaked out quite early he was so tired!!!!
The beginning of "The Best Water Fight Ever"!!!
After dinner, Josh and Luke decided to "challenge" Uncle Brian in a water fight. The boys had squirt guns, Brian grabbed the fire hose from the back of one of the cabins near us! Both kids were soaked to the core (sorry, no pics of that unfortunately), but very happy for standing up to "Scary Uncle Brian"!!! We'll get him next time!!!!
Since it was Nanny's birthday, Josh and Luke brought her birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to her. We all decided you could not ask for a better birthday to have your whole family with you, all happy and healthy (aside from the sunburns)!
We had another, fun filled, exciting, VERY BUSY day!
More Sandy Balls coming up in Part 6!
We stayed in a really nice holiday resort / camp site called Sandy Balls (insert snickers here). Rich's sister has a massive RV that they can camp there. Plus there are cabins and campers to rent if you don't have your own. There are two swimming pools, play grounds, bike hire, paths for walking, and heaps of other things to do. It was perfect! Rich's whole family met up down there. I think all total, we were 16 people!It was a great place. We had a 2 bedroom cabin all to ourselves.
With a nice view!
The first night we were there, Rich's sister Liz and her partner Brian had us over for a cook out.
Sam driving the RV
Coming tomorrow -- Part 5: The Beach & Nanny's Birthday
Dean, proudly sporting England's flag and jersey before the game.
Dean and Jo (his wife) put on a really nice BBQ, good company and lots of talking (mostly by their daughter Emma! LOL).
The boys fell in love with their dog Molly -- a really nice, very large Golden Labrador. Which is good since my parents have 2 large dogs too!
In the end, England drew 1-1 -- Brazil got a last minute goal in added time to tie it up. But, apparently, it was a good game! David Beckham had been recalled to the England squad and played well enough to play later a bit later in the Eur0 2008 Qualifier the next week.
ENGALUND, ENGALUND, ENGALUND!
We spent the night at Dean & Jo's, and spent a leisurely morning chatting and drinking tea. Then, we headed back to Nanny & Grandad's.
The boys played a bit in Nanny and Grandad's back garden.
Then we headed out to play at Ruislip Lido.
There was a playground on the beach with lots of play structures...
Then we had some ice cream (of course...)
If you've ever wondered what Sandy Balls is, stay tuned for part 4!