I want to document our trip to England very thoroughly, so I will try and post each day individually. This may take 14 days, so stick with me!
On August 26th, Aunt Tissa arrived in Baltimore and Jason and Mom went to get her while the boys and I slept. I had to work the next day, and so did Mom. We spent all day Monday preparing for the trip, and setting up all the last minute details. We had dinner out so as not to make more dishes. Jason and I went to pick up the minivan we were renting to get us to the airport, since there were so many of us. It ended up a lot cheaper to rent a van than to park two cars at the airport or take a shuttle service. We got up the next morning, packed the van and headed out. The kids were thrilled that the minivan had a DVD player in it, so Toy Story kept us company all the way to Dulles. We checked in, and then made our way to security. This is by far the worst part of flying for me. It's hard enough on your own, but getting through with small children is totally crazy! We flew out at 3pm, so we got loaded on about 2:30. Jason, me and the kids had a row of 4 all to ourselves, and Mom and Tissa were right across the aisle from us. The seats were equipped with those lovely personal entertainment screens and headphones, so it promised to be a good flight. I brought Charlie's car seat on board with us so he could supposedly sleep, which he did a little bit. We took off, which Charlie thought was really, really funny, and William started in on his first time watching "The Lorax". Lufthansa had special kids meals for the boys, and the food for the rest of us was really good. We watched movies, read, and tried to keep Charlie entertained. By the time we landed in Frankfurt it was roughly midnight for us, so we were tired. We had about a 2 hour layover, and then we boarded a bus to go out to the airplane on the runway. We stayed in the bus for about 20 minutes then they decided that there was a technical problem and they had to take us back to the airport. Ugh. The kids were so tired and so were we, so this was really bad news. After about an hour they put us on the bus again and brought us out to a different plane. The flight was quick to Manchester, only about 1 and a half hours, so soon we were on the ground and trying to get our bags and go through customs. It was much easier to get through than I thought it would be. We got our bags and then we finally went through the doors and MOLLY was there to greet us! I was so happy to see her, because it meant we were really where we were supposed to be! We headed up to the car rental desk and they found us a minivan that would hold all of our stuff and all the people. We also got a GPS which we would develop a love/hate relationship with over the coming 14 days. We were so tired by this point, and I kept nodding off all the way to Leeds. Jason drove the entire time and was so good at handling all the crazy differences. He drove on the wrong side like a native and got really good at dodging all the crazy drivers and the cars that park wherever they want to. We arrived at the rental house and we had a while till the man was coming with the keys, so we walked to the local Fish and Chips shop and had our first authentic chippy. It was great, but HUGE!!! The small size was still a whole fish fillet and a lot of fries. You could have fed everyone on 2 of them. The manager showed up after lunch and we got the keys. The house was cute and perfect for our situation. It had 2 bedrooms, 1 full and 1 half bath. The yard was walled in, so it was great for the boys. There were 2 big drawbacks though, the steps were really steep, and the fireplaces were a constant source of soot and joy for Charlie. We went to the grocery store that afternoon and we had a great time seeing all the unusual things and were very impressed with the quality and price of the food. Eggs are sold unrefrigerated. How weird is that?? It was really fun trying new stuff. Everywhere you looked were things that were black currant flavored. It was all over. I had never tried them before and I fell in love. By this time we were all totally exhausted and I had a major headache. I stayed home with Tissa and Charlie while Mom and Jason and Pudd went to Molly's house for dinner. I fell asleep with Charlie really quickly and felt much better after a few hours rest. Soon Jason and Mom came back with a very sleepy William and we were all very happy to go to sleep for the night.