I still can't totally believe we did this, and will forever be grateful that we did! Charlotte and I had been talking about us coming to Abu Dhabi for Thanksgiving or something, and then we toyed around with the idea of meeting somewhere in the middle instead. I'd been wanting to visit my friend Laurel and her new little twins in London and Charlotte had been talking to her friend Jessica about visiting her in Holland. I had been on the hunt for some good tickets in the fall, and when we found some direct on Delta at a great price I called Charlotte, and within a matter of a day it was on! I will admit that traveling around Europe with three kids is not much of a vacation, but it was a trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad we did it and that these seven little hooligans got to see each other.
Cousin meet up at the Buckingham Palace! This was the first time we all saw each other and it was pretty sweet.
Above, Robert is strolling in front of Laurel's cute house in Chelsea. The kids loved meeting the twins so much and I loved seeing Laurel's life in London. Rosie was asleep when we took this picture but I was so happy to hold cute Oscar. Robert was a saint one night and watched the kids at the airbnb so I could go out with Laurel, just the two of us. We were only staying about a 5 minute walk from her house so I just strolled on by and picked her up and then we walked to dinner down the road. Taylor was at work at his restaurant and Laurel was able to take me by there after dinner and give me a tour. It was so fun to see it all. I wish I would have taken some pictures.
I had been feeling pretty sick prior to this trip with baby #4, but thank the heavens that a day or two before we left I was miraculously cured and felt awesome the entire time!
Fresh flowers in so many window boxes and building sides all around the city.
We did a lot of touring around on our own because the Adseros arrived a little earlier and got a few things in in London before they had to head out for Disneyland Paris, which we skipped (shhh, don't tell our kids). I loved going around with them for many reasons, but mostly because my kids were so happy and also because we could get good family pics courtesy of Charlotte.
Minnie and I loved this colorful street in Chelsea, just a block from Laurel's house.
After a few days in London, we took the train to Paris. I loved the train because we could all sit together, facing each other, and it was so relaxing cruising through the countryside. I was interested to see what it would be like going through the Chunnel, but it was just dark for 15-20 minutes and then, boom, we were in France.
The sweetest cousins, so happy to be together again in Paris. I think Lou and Lincoln have a special bond. She loves him so much.
When we arrived in Paris we hopped on the Metro to head to our airbnb. We had never once felt nervous about anything in London, but Paris was a different story, There were just so many more shady people. I had the stroller with the kids in it and a few backpacks and Robert had the rest of the bags, bless him. We looked liked tourists to a tee, and Robert hadn't yet made the switch from carrying his wallet in his back pocket to his front, or deep inside a backpack or something. Anyway, when we arrived at our stop, I quickly hopped off the train with the kids, but when I looked back Robert was struggling. I couldn't figure out what was going on, if the bags were too much or what, but the doors started to slam closed and a few guys pretty much sacrificed their bodies to hold them open so Robert could get out. The kids were screaming their guts out and I just felt totally helpless. Once we were all together and a bit more composed, Robert told me some guy had just tried to pickpocket him (hello, we were perfect targets) and that he'd had to drop a few bags in the process to stop him, thus making it pretty hard to get off the train quickly. I guess the guys at the door were in cahoots with the guy trying to get Bob's wallet and held the doors for him in hopes that their friend would get the wallet, Bob would get off the train and they'd be home free. Thank the heavens they didn't know the wallet hadn't been taken, and we all walked out of the Metro stop in total shock. Lesson learned, Paris. Lesson learned.
Montmartre was probably one of the most charming parts of Paris, in my opinion. I don't feel like we did the best job navigating through that part of the city because everyone was tired, but I still loved it.
Taking a little break from the rain in our cute airbnb in Paris.
I figured we would be doing lots of walking and just giving ourselves a tour of most of the places we visited, but when it came down to the bigger kids walking and the time is was taking to get everywhere, we ended up caving and taking the big bus tours and I'm so glad we did! We loaded the kids up with snacks and then plugged our headphones in as the bus scooted us around the city and told us a million things we would have never known otherwise. Totally worth it! The tour in Paris started by the Louvre, so we took a few pictures outside, hopped on the bus for the tour, and since we were strollerless and it was raining and the kids were tired, we just headed back to the flat for a bit while the Adseros braved the Louvre. I've already been and Robert promised me I could take him next time we are in Paris and don't have little kids with us. Deal.
From Paris we rented a car and took a scenic three or four hour drive up to Holland. Charlotte's cute friend, Jessica, was nice enough to let us crash at her cute town house in Delft with the rest of the crew and it may have been one of my favorite parts of the trip. Delft was so dreamy, and it was only about an hour from Amsterdam where our great grandmother was born. Charlotte has done a lot of family history work on my maternal grandma's side of the family, and was able to track down the address of the home where my great grandmother and her family lived and owned a shop. It was pretty surreal being able to be where she had been so many years ago, and to stand on the steps I'm sure she and her parents had been up and down so many times. It felt a little like magic to all be there together.
Pretty, pretty Delft! These pictures are all mixed up as far as order goes, but hopefully you get the idea.
We went to church with Jessica and her family (how do I have no pictures of them??) on Sunday and then drove down to the northern coast of France to catch a train back to London. We were all seated together and Charlotte and I booked our last hotel together as well, so we were right next to each other. We deemed the last few days of the trip "cousin days" since we'd done lots of what we'd wanted to do already. We went to museums and played at parks and mostly just took it easy. We had lunch in Hyde Park next to the lake and then walked further in to find a playground. Lou pooped her pants shortly after leaving the restaurant (you better believe I threw away those undies) and then Minnie pooped her pants at the playground when I was at the bathroom fixing up Lou (you better believe I threw those undies away too). My girls...they just wait until the last second when something fun is going on and if I'm not paying attention it usually ends in disaster. Not our best potty day, but fun otherwise!
Saying goodbye in our jammies at the hotel continental breakfast was pretty bittersweet. These kids love each other so much. Can't wait to see these hooligans this summer! And can't believe Charlotte and I will each have one more to add to the crew.