Friday, August 29, 2014

117 Days! Finding Neverland

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” 
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

This week we are watching Finding Neverland.

The tiny little blurb from

The story of J.M. Barrie's friendship with a family that inspired him to create Peter Pan.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

118 Days! Christmas Day Transportation

(Photo from:

Have you ever traveled around London on Christmas Day?
No, seriously, i really want to know.

Due to me having to work on Christmas Eve,
we will arrive in London on Christmas Day.
Which we aren't complaining. I mean what better way to spend Christmas?

We get to really explore our town of LA at Christmas-time (we normally book it out of here before it gets too close to the day), and then we get to arrive in the beautiful sparkly town of London to experience the 12 days of Christmas!

(the 12 Days of Christmas STARTS on Christmas Day, 
if you didn't know. Don't believe me, 
checkout the ever dependable wikipedia: 12 Days of Christmas)

The issue we're facing: London shuts down on Christmas Day!

All over the blog sites and travelers advice columns, people search for Christmas Day transportation advice, and are given the same answer every time.... high priced taxis and car services are your only option.

Okay, we're prepared. Big $$ upfront. We'll have to get a couple less mulled ciders. We can deal.

I have actually found a shuttle service that will charge about the same as the car service, but it will be a set price, which will be nice. No extra surprises, no "we took too long to get out of customs" add-ons.

So, of course, we are leaning in that direction.

The other option we have is having our hotel arrange a car service. I am looking into that one now, and if miracles do come true, maybe it will be a little bit cheaper.

Have you ever traveled on Christmas Day in London?
Do you have any advice?

I would LOVVVVE to hear. Please comment!!!

Also, because I want to give, as well as receive, below is a very informative "How to use the London Oyster Card on the Tube" video, presented with a Texas-twang.

Sure, we won't be able to use the Tube on Christmas Day, but that doesn't mean we all can't enjoy this video now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

119! Time Out, Let's Talk About: Piper Preschool & Permission to Parent

One of the perks of Jayson's amazing place of employment (besides the top perk of the amazing people that run it and work there) is that we have had the chance to hear fantastic speakers!

Last night, we were able to attend a presentation by Robin Berman, author of Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits.

Here is a summary from Amazon:

After being bombarded by parenting fad after parenting fad, moms and dads finally have a friendly, commonsense guide to raising thriving children.
Today, many parents have rejected the dictatorships they resented from their own childhoods. But they overcorrected by turning into child-pleasers. Showering praise and letting kids rule the roost has actually eroded the very self-esteem parents are trying to create.
Using her clinical experience, psychiatrist Robin Berman shows parents how they can take charge while building a loving family with deep connections. How children learn love and respect at home becomes the template for how they show love and respect in life. It’s a huge task, but Dr. Berman is your ally every step of the way.
Every parent’s struggles are reflected (many of them comically), but so are heartwarming triumphs.  Parents, teachers and children themselves recount turning points at which they figured out what great parenting looked like and the magic it unlocked.
This engaging book—a perfect mix of medical research and inspirational anecdotes—just might be the key to being the parent you want to be and the parent your children need.

She was extremely interesting and engaging, and I can't wait to read her book!

Here is a video interview about her book (but also feel free to google her, as she has several videos out there, including one with Hoda & Kathie Lee!):

In case you're interested in finding out more, below are a few links:

and in case you want to keep up with #overheardatpreschool

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

120 Days! Accommodations

I want to make it clear that this trip would not be possible without amazing friends and family.

That very much relates to this post because for gosh darn near the whole of the trip, we will be staying in our beautiful friend's flat. On top of that already amazing kindness, she won't be there to chaperone for most, if not all, of our trip, as she has her only holiday travels... guys, she trusts us with her stuff!

So we will be staying someplace cool and awesome near really cool and awesome things. (dudes, i'm not actually going to tell you where on here...this is the internet.)

Now we are only staying there for MOST of our trip because there is a little something we learned when we started planning.... London SHUTS DOWN on Christmas Day.

Public transportation? Not in service.
Pubs? If open, they shut down early.
The streets of London? We've read that they are near empty.

There ARE a few cabs and private cars available that, of course, charge extra on the holiday (going to write more later on my research of how in the heck we are getting into London from the airport).

Since we arrive early Christmas Day, and we want to keep our costs as low as possible, we want to stay near the location of our Christmas activity (again, more on that later) and near food options.

Luckily, we already found that special hotel that we will be spending one whole night in.

Charing Cross Hotel

The room prices are lower than average right now, so we went ahead and booked. Luckily, they do have a cancellation policy; so we can cancel up to 2:00 PM on Christmas Day, and still get our money back!

It is in a perfect location and has great reviews:
--> Trip Advisor: Charing Cross Hotel <--

They have the option of a Christmas Dinner there, or there are other nearby options as well.

But let's be honest, the most important part... we'll have a tv to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Episode!!!!

Please let me know if you've ever experienced Christmas Day and transportation in London! Would love advice from someone I know that has been there! :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

121 Days! Air Travel

When it comes to a vacation in London, I assume the most important two (financial) questions are:

1. Where will you be staying?

I'll cover that tomorrow. :)

2. How will you get there?

There are a lot of choices to make when flying to London. Living in Los Angeles provides easy access to the major airlines, and most of the prices are pretty reasonable since the LA to London is a frequented route. It also provides direct flights, which is a beautiful perk!

We researched a lot of the airlines, reading blogs and reviews from travelers.

I had previously flown with United to London, when I studied there. I wasn't disappointed with the flight, but I wasn't encouraged to fly with them again.

This time I assumed I would fly on Virgin Atlantic, that was until I met my beautiful friend who is in love with New Zealand. She recommended Air New Zealand so many times that I finally decided to look into what other people said.


(Photo borrowed from:

That actually might be an understatement. Every review I read said that Air New Zealand is, hands down, the best airline out there.

So we have our roundtrip tickets to London via Air New Zealand, and I am excited to add my own review to the masses out there.

Here is one of my favorites I've come across so far:

Has anyone else ever flown with Air New Zealand?
Or do you have different favorite airline?

Friday, August 22, 2014

12th Doctor Arrives TOMORROW!

What kind of man will he be?

124 Days! Help! (the movie)

During our countdown to London, we will be watching several London based movies.

The first on our list is..... drumrolllllllllllll:

Ringo: There's more here than meets the eye!
George: Huh ho.
John: Ho.
George: Huh ho.
John: Ho!
George: Ho ho ho ho, ho ho ho.
John: Hooo.
George: Ho.
John: Huh ho!

Of course, making this movie watching plan is when we suddenly realize that the movie we were POSITIVE we owned... we don't actually own. Thank goodness for the public library.

Also, reminder: The 12th Doctor shows us what kind of man he is, TOMORROW!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

125 Days!

The first part of planning any trip is to get really, really, REALLY excited about! Check. We've got that covered. (I mean, as you can see, I started this countdown at 125 days!)

We have watched every Rick Steves' London episode on Hulu, listened to all his podcasts, searched for random YouTube videos about London/Christmas in London, and my guidebook is covered in highlighter!

My first tip: after much deliberation,
we decided on the DK Eyewitness Travel London 2014 guide, seen here:

It has a lot of basic information that you need, a good amount of history, and enough pictures to keep you excited and reading the whole thing!

We also considered Rick Steves' book, as it is VERY detailed, but we decided that is one for closer to the trip, rather than for the initial planning stages.

To get you excited for this adventure as well, I have included one of those fantastic YouTube videos that we've been drooling over. Enjoy!

Oh! And is this where I throw in to any potential burglars out there that our house will be protected while we are out of town? Okay, internet, here's the 411: a person and a fierce dog will be staying here; so don't get any funny ideas.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Long Two Years....

These past couple of years have held a lot of joy, but maybe even more tears.

A year and a half ago, my dad had a small accident which left him with a broken leg. This unfortunately led to pneumonia, which left him on life support. My siblings and I had to band together to save his life, as his wife tried to take him off of life support. The doctor's believed there was still hope for his recovery, and we fought for that!

His wife gave him two weeks to improve. God was so good, and immediately he started to improve. We had an extra 8 months with my father.

When he awoke, he was so happy to be alive. He was still on machines, and wasn't able to go home for a few months; but that Christmas 2013, I was able to spend quality time with my pops. He let me know how grateful he was to be alive and spend that time with all of us.

During his last 8 months with us, his mom (my dear Mammaw) went into hospice care and passed away. He was never able to see her again after his accident, as they were both too weak to visit one another, but he was able to talk to her.

I was there with my dad as he was going through what it was like to become an orphan, not realizing that just 3 months later I would be doing the same.

In January 2014, my father had to go back to the hospital due to an internal tear, and he became weaker again. He knew what his wife had tried to do last time, so he made sure she knew that he wanted to stay on the machines. He even let her know that he wanted to go out of state, to stay on the machines longer.

On February 3rd, when my siblings and I were not at the hospital (I was still in Los Angeles because I was told it wasn't going to be that serious), his wife went in and had the doctor turn off the machines. Only after he passed away did she notify anyone. We were never able to say goodbye.

So now I have become what is called an "adult orphan," and it has been a very hard journey. My siblings and I are the oldest generation now, which feels like a huge responsibility when you're in your 20s.

But when my father passed away he knew my husband, he knew the city I chose to build a life, he knew my new career path, he was able to see me in my life as an adult.... all things my mom never got to see. I am so grateful for the little things because I do, and always will, miss them both terribly.

This October Jayson and I are reaching our 5th anniversary, November brings my 30th birthday, and December will hold the first Christmas that I don't have a Kendel-parental home to visit. We know that it will be tough on me, so we decided this Christmas we will be in London.

I am so grateful to have the gift of going to a city that not only is a place I absolutely love, but is a place that is home to so many loves that my dad and I shared: Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, and so much history.

To focus on the positives of this season I am going through, and to continually be thankful for all that both my parents have brought to my life, I am going to try to do a proper countdown here. I want to share how we are planning, what we are doing, and the little joys we experience along the way.

Christmas in London Countdown begins now.