Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas and Boxing Day 2008

This year it was just the four of us alone here for Christmas, which might have been slightly pathetic, but fortunately both kids are at optimal ages for enjoying the holiday as it was meant to be: Ethan is still clinging staunchly to his belief in Santa, and Avery is just old enough to know that boxes plus wrapping paper equals new toys. Here they are acting like, well, like kids on Christmas:

Avery did not require any pompom coaching; she was born to shake it.

Okay, it's still a video game, but he's definitely getting a workout.

"Avery's" dollhouse; occasionally I even let her rearrange things, but after she's in bed I put it back just like this. Notice the Dad is downstairs doing the washing up. Alone. As it should be.

The kids feasted all day on chocolate coins and Lindt reindeer, so they weren't that interested in dinner; we gave them pasta and put them to bed early, and then had the kitchen to ourselves.

Here's our Christmas dinner, which I do understand is rather brown and unappetizing (however delicious); I'm showing it to you only for the purpose of passing on the following advice from one of our English friends re. the proper way to cook vegetables. When I mentioned apologetically that I thought the sprouts might be overdone, he observed that "as long as you can make out individuals, they're not overcooked." A quintessentially English point of view, but one I have adopted for reasons of digestion and because I have a houseful of small children who prefer not to have to chew their food before swallowing.

Boxing Day was gorgeous and sunny (and freezing, but never mind) so we went up to Knole Park for a walk, and to fly Ethan's new kite.

Ethan, Avery, and Dylan in Knole Park

Ethan and Avery in front of Knole House

Flying the kite

Ethan took this picture of Avery & me

Downtown Sevenoaks

Tomorrow it's back to school, work, and whatever it is I do. We wish you all the best in 2009!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

More December in Review

Lansing had some vacation to burn before year's end, so he had 2 full weeks at home with us, which made for the Best Christmas Ever as far as the kids and I are concerned. (Lansing, possibly, will not be entirely devastated to escape back to the office tomorrow.) We put the tree up the first weekend in December, ensuring there would be plenty of time for it to wither and die and fling sharp little needles everywhere (okay, it didn't help that we forgot to cut the bottom few inches off before we put it in the water.)

Kind of blurry, but with the flash you could really see just how dead the tree was...

Ethan finished off the school term with a carol service in one of the beautiful local churches. Once school was done, we planned a few day trips to distract him from the agony of having to wait 3 more days to open his Christmas presents.

We spent a day in London, decorating cookies with Mother Christmas and checking out the aquarium. Avery spent most of her face-time with Mrs. Claus eating chocolate- they just kept putting it in front of her- with predictable results:

I promise Lansing's not breaking Ethan's arm off-camera, however it sounds, it was just a gentle restraint technique. Ahhh, sugar. And what better complements a full stomach than carnival rides?

We finished off the day with a quick tour of the London Aquarium, which I can't currently recommend since it's under construction- it's a bit like wandering around a building site with a few fish tanks inexplicably installed beneath the scaffolding.

You can color a picture at the remarkably filthy craft table, however, if that's of any interest to you.

Or maybe you'd like to see the fish that's clearly been attacked by a shark? Yes? I thought so:

I'm thinking feeding time maybe needs to be brought forward half an hour? Someone has clearly been getting impatient. Or, I don't know, maybe the fish started it. In any case, it made quite an impression on all the children present.

December in Review

We've really made the most of our Christmas break this year, catching up with lots of friends that we see all too rarely. We had some great outings with the kids...and also some we thought would be great that didn't quite turn out that way. Avery and I headed down to the London Temple one grey and freezing morning, having heard that the angel Moroni statue was finally going to be helicoptered up onto the spire (the temple was built in the 50's, but at the time they weren't able to get planning permission for Moroni.)

We arrived early and wandered around looking at the new visitors' center and the Christmas displays.

Did I mention it was freezing?

I've got to be the worst photographer on the planet- I couldn't find a good angle for this shot.

Avery's patience with the camera soon wore thin.

We could see the statue on the lawn, but no sign of any helicopters. Eventually they let us know that the pilot was fogged in and it would be a couple of hours. I couldn't see Avery hanging in there that long, nor did the fog look like it would dissipate anytime soon, so we just grabbed a couple of close-ups and headed for home.

One angel, mint condition, still in original packaging

I'm not sure when they actually got it up there, but it looks like the helicopter eventually came through.