Thursday, December 27, 2007

boxing day in london

We had planned to take the girls over to spend 2 days with Michael and Mason while Steve and I went to Wales for a 'getaway', but on Tuesday evening I decided we should take them to London for ice skating and a trip to Hamley's instead.

We drove up to Reislip tube station, parked the car, and headed into London. The skies were clear and the temperature wasn't too cold. A perfect day!

Steve and the girls enjoyed ice skating at the Tower of London (I have messed up my ankle, so we didn't think getting on skates was a great idea for me!) After skating for an hour, we drank some Cadbury's hot cocoa, and then headed off to the theatre district. If you have never been to the theatre district in London, it is ALWAYS bustling--great place for people watching! We ate at Planet Hollywood and then headed to Hamley's toy store. The girls got their Pawsports stamped at Build-a-Bear and then had a look around at all the toys. After the store closed, we headed to Trafalgar Square to see the city's Christmas tree (sent over from Oslo, Norway each year as a thank you).

With energy spent, we walked to the tube station and headed back the 15 stops to our car and then the hour drive home!!

Everyone had a great time.

*** The only bad thing about the day was my camera card worked for a second and then would not work again. So as I carried around my almost professional-but useless--Nikon, I had to take pictures with my phone! They are not the greatest quality, but they are pictures of probably our last Christmas in England.
Today, the girls are with Michael and Mason and Steve drove to pick up an antique bed we bought. I have had the house to myself all day!!! It has been very quiet!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

happy boxing day

Yes, this is an actual bank holiday--not just words on calendars.

While the exact origins of the holiday are obscure, it is likely that Boxing Day began in England during the Middle Ages.
Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on
Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

Church Alms Boxes
Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of
St. Stephen.
As time went by, Boxing Day gift giving expanded to include those who had rendered a service during the previous year. This tradition survives today as people give presents to tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters, and others who have helped them.

Whatever the origin, England shuts down for this holiday! Most everything was closed today and the roads were empty of drivers--but London was CROWDED with tourists!!

I will add some pictures of our day in London some time tomorrow-now I am ready to go to bed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

out of order

The last two post are out of order. I thought if I posted them in the order I wanted them on my page they would post in that order. Unfortunately, they post in the order you write them, NOT the order you post them!!!

the end of our christmas activities

This week was filled with.....

Decorating our tree (the scrawniest, i.e. UGLIEST, tree ever)

Cookie decorating and gift exchange with friends at the Ostrowski's on Saturday....

Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange with our friends, the Ostrowski's....

Christmas pajamas left by Santa on our doorstep Christmas Eve.......

Leaving oats for the reindeer.

And of course, to bed so Santa could come!!!!!

santa is back at the north pole

The packages are opened. The paper and boxes are in the recycle bins. The girls have played with all of their presents and the living room is almost back to normal! I woke up around 8:30 and heard the girls in Michaela's room talking. I tried to sneak up and hear what they were saying, but they saw me. Emma jumped up and said "Merry Christmas!" "Mommy, its Christmas!!" I asked if they had been down to see if Santa had come--they said NO!!!! So Emma ran in to wake up Steve and then we all headed down to see what Santa had left. Emma saw that he had eaten the cookies and drank the Coke and then she noticed all of the presents!!! The day was filled with much excitement--Emma is at a great stage and was very excited with everything!!!

Emma Shea was very excited with the pretend make-up in her stocking, but her favorite gift was the camera Santa left her. She has been snapping pictures of random things all day!!! ( We will add some of her masterpieces later).

***Unfortunately, as I just went through my pictures, I have no good ones of Emma. For some reason they are all blurry. I have decided it is the demon that possesses her--it causes red eye and blurriness in ONLY Emma's pictures!!!:):):):) Any of you that know me, know that this is very upsetting to me--I love my pictures. I told Steve we were gong to have to stage Christmas morning!!!

Michaela loaded up on clothes this year--Oh, and Santa thought a High School Musical Sing a Long for the PS2 was a good gift. What was he thinking!!!!!!
Can you tell what her favorite gift was???

(UGG boots--surely that is short for UGLY!!!!!!)

It was a great day that ended in Cambridge at the Moulton's house for our mid-week Bible study----and some Guitar Hero afterwards.

Tomorrow ice skating in London.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

good enough to eat

Tonight was the Gingerbread House decorating gathering with the RITC group. The girls and I headed over to the Sheep Dip after babysitting 4 children all day (Michaela and Emma Shea had a mental health day today). Each decorated a side of the house. It was alot of fun--and alot less messy than putting the houses together!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

oh amy, why did i say i would help you???

Monday night, Michaela and I went to help Ms. Amy put together Gingerbread houses for the RITC gathering Wednesday evening. I have never experienced putting these together--let me just say it was a big, messy event. Every one's icing baggies were opening at the top and icing was oozing out all over the place. Walls fell over. Roofs caved in. Laughter filled the air. But in the end, we put together 24 houses!! {Unfortunately, my hands were covered with icing so I could not get pictures of the oozing messes!}

{The Diet Pepsi cans were for support--not for consumption}

Watch for more pictures on Wednesday evening. Emma, Michaela, and I will be decorating one of the houses--hopefully they are all still standing!!!

a parade welcoming the holiday season

Sunday evening was the Christmas 'parade' in the village. It is a very old custom, so we thought we would join Emma's school this year and walk. Villagers followed behind Santa through the village centre and at the Village Hall, everyone sang old English carols (luckily they were illuminated on the hall!)
Michaela, as a former student, carried the Southfield tree.
Emma walked with her friend, Rebecca.

Brackley Town Hall

We stayed until we were all frozen.

christmas around the world

"Santa, this year I would like a robe, some jeans, and a trip to Kentucky."

"Santa, I would like a purple pony, make-up, and a camera for Christmas."
On Saturday, the base had a Christmas party for the children. It was Christmas Around the World. The children were given a Passport and then went around to experience Christmas customs, eat native foods from the various countries, and do activities from each of the countries. The girls had a great time--Emma's favorite was the Italian hot chocolate (which is basically melted chocolate!!). Michaela enjoyed the hot chocolate also, but she was partial to the black olives from the Middle East!!

The exciting thing was that Emma Shea actually sat on Santa's lap!!!!!! She walked right up on the stage and sat on his lap--TWICE. She enjoys looking at the Blogs from the families back in Kentucky and she had seen Carson sitting on Santa's lap. She decided if he could do it, so could she. So THANK YOU Carson!!!!

Even Steve and his partner, Cory talked with Santa while 'patroling' the party. I am not sure what he asked for, probably a Mini he can take back to the States!

who is that outside?


As we were sitting eating our dinner--yummy Indian food--we heard what we thought was our neighbours playing there Christmas music very loudly outside. We found this very strange as it was COLD. Suddenly, we heard a HO HO HO!! I jokingly said Santa was in the back garden. And what do you know, when we looked out the patio doors who did we see in our neighbours driveway??
None other than Father Christmas on a truck--all lit up with music playing and snow blowing!!!

We tried to walk around to see him, but even though he was literally 5 feet away on the other side of our back fence, we walked 7 or 8 blocks and still could not get to the part of the estate he was in.
Of course, he came right to our front door on Saturday--and the girls and I were on our way to Mildenhall to have a girls' night out at a hotel near where we attend church.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

whoopsie daisy angel

The Reception and Nursery classes (5 year old and younger) at Southfield put on their Christmas Program today. The story was about a clumsy angel who was never given an important job because she was so clumsy. (Of course, she tells everyone about the birth of a baby and realizes she had the most important job of all). The girls in Emma's class were snowflakes. They sang cute songs and floated around--until the wind took them away.

*Of course, the play gave us opportunity to talk about how we do not know when Jesus was born and that Christmas is about Santa Claus and not about religion.

Emma Shea's class has a musical group coming in next Wednesday night to sing some songs with the children and their families. There will also be traditional English refreshments (ex:mulled cider for the adults--because where else other than Europe would you have alcohol served at a school function!--even sold at the school performances as a fund raiser)

Her school is also walking in the Brackley Christmas parade next week. Alot of celebrations to kick off the holiday season!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

if we can make it here, we can make it anywhere!!!

This is the entertainment one is tortured with, oh I mean blessed with, when one has no tv!!!!!!!!!

just a quick update

I haven't updated in awhile so I thought I would add a few pictures.

There hasn't been too much happening here.
Thanksgiving was a normal day here for us. Stephen worked his 13 hour shift, Emma and Michaela went to school, and I made yeast rolls and jello salad (or fruit snot as our friend, Stephanie, has named it). We ate with the Ostrowski's and the Hanson's later that evening.

Michaela and Emma Shea had their school Christmas Fayres Friday. Emma talked to Father Christmas ( I did not have my camera with me) and told him she would like a camera, make-up, and a purple pony. She would not sit on his lap, but she stood next to him and talked to him--an improvement over last year. Michaela--after MUCH prompting from us--has finally come up with a few items she would like Santa to consider.

Tonight was the lighting of the tree on the base. The girls and I bundled up--
because it is COLD!!!!!!--and went to sing the songs and watch the tree lights be turned on. A special guest, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas, depending on your nationality, came in on a fire truck to surprise all the children.
Of course, traffic had to be directed to ensure Santa's safe arrival--and guess who was there to maintain order!!!

We are planning to get our tree this week and make our Christmas cards. I just cannot believe it is almost the end of the year! Crazy how fast time is going.

I will add pictures of Emma as a snowflake in her school presentation tomorrow afternoon.