Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NFL in London

Once a year since 2007, the NFL has traveled to London for a football game at Wembley Stadium. Since we have been here, we have been in the country for almost every game the NFL teams have played in England, however there have not been teams of great interest to us (or should I say of interest to Scott) until this year.

When it was announced that the Chicago Bears would be playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Scott knew immediately that he wanted to attend this game. I think I heard him chanting "Bear Down, Chicago Bear" as soon as he first heard the Bears would be coming across the pond.

So, we purchased tickets with some friends and made the journey down to Wembley Stadium in London for the game last Sunday evening. It was a bit strange to experience an American football game in a British setting but it was definitely a fun experience!
One of the first big noticeable differences in attending a football game in the UK was that the concession stands were serving British fare, and not American hot dogs, nachos, and pretzels! It felt rather strange to have options such as fish and chips available at a football game, but I went with it and ordered scampi and chips. The pre-game field show was interesting. The Goo-Goo Dolls performed and the Buccaneer cheerleaders put on a show (since they were considered to be the "home" team for this game). We were there with our friends Holly & Kevin. Holly & I had a good time chatting and watching the game while the boys talked sports the entire game! Also as part of the pre game field "show," both the National Anthem and God Save the Queen were performed. And along with the songs, there were American flags on the field (as you see with the people standing underneath the red, white, and blue colors), and then the seated attendees in the stadium held up red, white and blue papers to make a large Union Jack out of the crowd. It was very cool.

Given the high population of Americans who live in London (close to 500,000 in London alone), I thought the crowd would mainly be made up of Americans. However when God Save the Queen was performed and the crowd chimed in, I realized we, as Americans, were in the minority for this game.
Luckily for Scott, we were able to see the Bears beat up on the Bucs in a great game. It was fun to have a little bit of an American sporting tradition over here, even if it had a British "twist" to it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The British Pumpkin Patch

In the US, I grew up going to huge pumpkin patches every year - complete with their corn mazes, spooky scarecrows, hay rides, festive foods, and more. In preschool and grade school I am sure there were school trips to the pumpkin patches every fall. In the US, a trip to the pumpkin patch is one that every family seems to make in the September/ October time frame. I have plenty of photos through the years of our trips to the pumpkin patch, where my sister & I would each pick out our pumpkins that we would carve for Halloween. It is fun, festive, and part of the build-up that goes into celebrating Halloween in the US.

I may have touched on this subject to some degree in the past but the pumpkin patch is yet another example of how commercialized the Halloween Holiday is in the US versus in the UK where it is not as elaborate in scope (Although admittedly growing in popularity each year but the looks of the store shelves...)

Now that we have a little girl to start such family traditions with, it seemed only fitting that we celebrate the fall season with a trip to the local pumpkin patch, so last weekend I searched for a local pumpkin patch in our area and luckily we found one within about 20 minutes of a drive.
The pumpkin patch was located on farm in the middle of the countryside and they had one large pumpkin balloon flying in the air for people to be able to find them. It only took us about 5 minutes to walk around the entire pumpkin selection area of this farm, but it was really a cute little find - just quite different than the massive pumpkin farm industry in America!
The farm owners had some "spooky" and festive decor set up on their property.
Inside the tent of pumpkins. Much different to the US, there was only one small tent filled with pumpkins (although a nice selection of them!).
Crosby took in the view of the pumpkins from Dad's shoulders.
There was a cute old fashioned large scale there to weigh the pumpkins, so we decided to weigh our little pumpkin to see how she compared!
We seated Crosby next to a few of the pumpkins for a while. She happily sat there and just watched the other people visiting the pumpkin farm walk around. She most definitely enjoys being out watching people.
Is that a pumpkin head or Scott??!?!?
After we selected a few pumpkins, we piled the pumpkins and Crosby into the little wagon the farm had on site.
Scott pulled the pumpkins and Crosby back to our car. It was a short little visit but it seemed festive and we were glad to support a local farmer in our purchase of pumpkins, rather than the grocery store.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

World Series of Baseball

It is amazing how smart babies can be at such a young age. I am impressed with Crosby already....although she hasn't lived in the US yet, she already knows where her roots and loyalties lie. I went to pick out an outfit for her to wear and she picked out her little St. Louis Cardinal's onesie because just the other day she heard her Pa talking about how he was wearing his Cardinal's gear to support the home team.
It's a good thing Crosby is so smart already at a young age and already knows which baseball team is going to win the world series. Wish we could watch game #3 tonight but we'll be rooting for the red birds all the way over here!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Royal Mail

There is something so very British about the fancy red mailboxes throughout this country. Crosby, Bashful her pig, and I took a walk today to our local post box to send some letters to America. Crosby held on to them tightly until it was time to drop them in the red letter box (or perhaps she ate chewed on them along the walk to get to there?!?!). I love seeing all of the red post boxes dotted along the streets of this country.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

British Fashionista

The weather was a bit crisp today when Crosby & I decided to go for a walk. Since it was cooler weather outside, Crosby wore her little Burberry coat from our friends Beth & BJ for the very first time. She fits right in here in England with the Burberry plaid as part of her wardrobe!
A little budding British fashionista at a very young age....

Friday, October 7, 2011

American "Loot"

Scott about croaked when he helped me unpack my suitcases when Crosby & I returned back to England this week. I had almost an entire suitcase full of food - namely Halloween loot and candy! Ooops....

We are planning to host a little Halloween party for some of our British friends who have children within a few weeks of age of Crosby so I figured that was the perfect excuse to bring back lots of American Halloween candy so they can all try the American sweets we like.

Now that Crosby is eating food in full force, I also brought back a few baby items that she enjoyed in the US that I cannot find here - "puffs," plain Cheerios, Rice Rusks, disposable place mats for eating out at restaurants (love them), etc.
It's a good thing we have status with the airline so I am allowed plenty of extra baggage! :)