Other posts on this trip: Manchester and Blackburn, Derbyshire, Sheffield, The Bakewell Show, Bristol, Bath, and Stonehenge.

Okay, this is the last of my posts on our 2 weeks of adventure introducing H to all of England. After we left Stonehenge it was time for a wedding! I’m not going to post a lot of photos from the wedding since it was Morgan and Katie’s own wonderful, beautiful day to share. But we do need to take a moment for H’s wedding outfit.

Gold. Ballet. Flats. She is her mother’s child fo’ sho’. I would also like to point out that we chose the correct theme for our wedding gift to them, as these were the placecards:

Also, any wedding that has a cupcake cake is perfect in our book.

It really was a beautiful wedding, and we had a great time. Morgan and Katie are such a fun couple, and we love our nieces Cleo and Livi! They got to meet H for the first time, and I really hope they get to see more of each other in the future. I’d never met most of the guests before since Morgan is Adam’s half brother, and he has a whole bunch of family I don’t know. But everyone was so warm and inclusive and great, we really felt at home. We got all kinds of family gossip, always a treat. And they were great with H. It was really lovely.

On Sunday we went from London to Reading to meet back up with Cora and Ian at her sister Irene’s house. Cora’s whole family came out for sort of an impromptu reunion and baby introduction. That was really nice, and I got to spend more time with Adam’s cousins. You always get a deeper sense of the family you married into when you see their own family dynamics, stories, in-jokes, and history together in action. Adam’s uncle Graham took this photo from the day.

And from there it was on to Maidenhead, just outside of London, where Adam’s dad John and stepmom Joyce live. We spent a very quiet day there with them on Monday, trying to get our energy back up after driving all over the country for a week and a half. But on Tuesday we were up for another adventure, so we went to Hampton Court on the recommendation of Adam’s cousin Lucy and aunt Tessa.

I’d never actually been to any of the palaces. I’ve driven past Buckingham Palace numerous times in cabs, and I’ve been to Windsor and seen the castle. But I’ve never been in any of them. I was really excited to do that, and since we were trying to avoid London proper as much as possible during the Olympics Hampton Court was perfect. And beautiful. And we saw a lot without getting too rained on. The first thing we did was head to the maze. I was not aware until that day just how much my husband loves mazes, and just how competitive he and John would get. John and Joyce went one way, and Adam took charge of the stroller to lead us another way.

Sometimes our ways collided.

But we actually did get to the center first, and Adam was very proud. John has some excuse or other as to why they fell behind, lol.

This stub is going in H’s baby book, I made a special trip back to the maze ticket office to make sure I got her a sticker. Adam got one, too.

Then it was back to the main grounds to start exploring. So much to look at!

A lady at Court must always check for rain, apparently.

And I must always get a shot of my own feet.

The gardens were unbelievable, I thought the ones at Haddon Hall were great.

Dahlias bigger than my hands!

I’d never heard of the Great Vine, but it actually is Guinness certified as the largest grape vine in the world. It has its own house with a yard.

What I loved about the palace were all the gift shops. Not one big shop, but shops spread out around every theme. Next to the Royal Gallery of Needlework (yes, a real place–which we didn’t pay the extra ticket price to visit) was a needlework gift shop. The lady there told Joyce and me about Creative Quilting just up the road, so of course we stopped there after the palace! I discovered the amazing patterns from Don’t Look Now there, I’d never seen them before. Anyway, I digress. The gardens had a garden shop, the kitchens had a kitchen shop, and so on. I loved it, I even bought a special edition Paddington Bear book where he gets lost in the Hampton Court maze. Perfect to go with H’s Paddington from Bath.

And then the next day it was time to come home. I have to say, I was honestly relieved to open the door to our house and pass out in my own bed. But this was such an incredible trip and H was amazing. She definitely had her moments when she was sick of being in the car, sick of being in different places all the time. But she smiled and snuggled and laughed with everyone everywhere we went. It was huge for Adam to show off his daughter everywhere and tell her all about being English. It was huge for us to be there for his brother’s wedding. I loved seeing all of that, and I learned more about Adam’s roots on this trip, too. I just felt more and more content with our little family, and all the great stuff H’s going to get to do in her life. All the people who love this tiny little apparition who just arrived on the scene at the start of spring. She has no idea how phenomenal the whole situation is, it’s just her life. How cool is that?