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Monday, November 7, 2011

Guy Fawkes Night


Guy Fawkes Night is a celebration held on November 5th here in England. Basically to sum it all up...Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives that had been placed placed beneath the House of Lords, in an attempt to kill the King. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London. Months later, it was stated that the 5th November would become an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure. Here is a link with further detail on the history of Guy Fawkes Night, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night



Mandy and I decided to go to the Fireworks celebration that was being held in Richmond. There was a carnival with games and rides, lots of food and drink and TONS of people. At about 7:00, the Mayor of Richmond, Councillor Clare Head, came out to start the countdown to the bonfire and firework display. My favorite part of her opening speech was when she informed us that Heathrow airport had no arriving or departing flights from 7-7:45 due to the fireworks in Richmond!! (That's how low the planes are flying when they pass over us!) The firework display was set to the music of Queen and was FABULOUS!!! One thing the Brits know how to do right, is throw a party!!! Hoping the video of the finale loads to the webpage so you can get a glimpse of the show!!




 




Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All About October!!!

What a difference a year makes!!! Last year Keith began his work journey in September and the kids and I arrived on October 12th...We had no furniture, no phone, Internet or cable, no friends and no clue as to what we were doing. The weather was already cool and grey with minimal sun in sight until mid March. So here we are now, a whole year later...Life over here is very different than back home in Connecticut, but it is a good life. The kids are doing great in school and have made many wonderful friends, I have met a fabulous group of women who are an amazing source of support and laughter, I passed my UK driving test and hold a full UK License, Keith is enjoying the challenge of his new position, we are traveling to places we never thought we would see and the weather...let's just say it has been a fabulous, very non-London like sunny, warm fall!!! What a difference a year makes!!!

Fun At School!

With the fall weather upon us, it is time to recognize Harvest Time! The kids had a wonderful assembly at school where they shared the songs and poems about Harvest time. It was actually a very sweet assembly. The song to the right was one that all the children in the school sang describing the harvest (click on the photo to enlarge it). Mandy's class sang a song about bread and harvesting the wheat and grains. She came out dressed as a baker and handed out fresh bread to the parents in the audience!!
There was also Football day at school, where each class was able to spend a half hour with a football instructor. It was a great opportunity as a parent to be able to watch the kids playing with their classmates!




Half Term Break Fun!!!

Many of you have asked about the kids school calendar. Basically there are three terms that run 15 weeks each. The kids go to school for 7 weeks, get a week off for 1/2 term break , then back to school for 7 more weeks. At the end of the term there is a two week break before the next term starts. Makes for great opportunities for travel!! We started our week off with a trip into London to visit the London Aquarium with some friends. Time in the city, especially along South Bank, never disappoints!

Training to Waterloo with chocolate milkshakes...
Rory, Mandy, Molly, Ryan & Liam


The Crocs and Penguins were by far the favorites at the Aquarium!



Enjoying the crazy characters and carousel along
South Bank on a beautiful autumn day in London!








We Finished off the day with dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Piccadilly Circus!


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Thursday through Sunday we ventured off to an amazing spot in Portugal called Algarve. We flew into Faro and then headed over to the resort for some beach, sun and R&R. For much of the world, the Algarve area is synonymous with Portugal, yet it is actually quite different. Most of Portugal is known for quaint towns, medieval castles and grand palaces. The Algarve is known for hotels, golf courses and beaches. With 100 miles of coastline, Portugal's southern province is one of Europe's premier beach destinations. This was by far the most beautiful beach that Keith and I have ever seen. The sand was amazing, the water was clear, clean and probably the loudest crashing waves we have ever heard. We came on this trip to relax and enjoy some down time...that was exactly what we got!


The Harrods Bear at Gatwick Airport

We stayed at the Monte da Quinta Resort in one of the suites. It was fabulous and would highly recommend it, especially to those traveling with children. The staff was friendly and helpful, there was an on site kids club, full spa, gorgeous pools and a quick bike ride to the beach.  Here is the link to the resort.  http://www.montedaquintaresort.com/catalog/welcome.do?hasFlash=yes




Fun in the Pool!!





 

Keith's Corona Commercial




On Friday night we went down to the beach for dinner
and ate at Julia's Beach Bar Restaurant. Amazing sunset!! 
 
 
 
 


A view off our bedroom balcony


Sunday we rented bikes and headed down to the beach. It was about a 15 minute bike ride followed by a walk along a very long footbridge. Keith and I agree that this final day was the best of the whole trip. The family bike ride was a blast, the beach was amazing and everyone thoroughly enjoyed every second of the day.


Walking to the beach on the footbridge


For all of you who have been asking....there is the baby belly!!

Check out the waves!!! Mandy had a blast until one came and knocked her down...a little bit of beach butt rash after that one!!!

She recovered nicely and decided to enjoy the sand instead!!

Back from the beach...

Final Family pictures before heading back to London...

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Halloween this year in our area was HUGE!!! There were so many kids and families out and about in our neighborhood that we ran out of our 8 bags of candy in about 45 minutes. Mandy and Ryan had a blast, as usual and both assumed the personalities of their characters!!! Check out the awesome Halloween Moon that was out!!


The Wicked Witch and "The Flash"

Trick or Treating with Rory, Liam & Molly

So there you have it...October 2011!!! Looking forward to what the next few months have to bring...sharing holiday festivities here with friends, the arrival of Steve and Marissa's baby, traveling home for Christmas, and of course the arrival of Baby P #3!!  Hope to continue to share the journey with you!!!

Love from London...