I should really title this post "Photo Summary" seeing as that's probably the best way to catch you up on the last three months of our life!!! Enjoy!
Mandy started basketball through the American Sports League. First time we had to drive because the Overground was closed...took us 2 hours each way to drive about 13 miles!! Needless to say we have found alternate options when the train is closed! She has come so far in a few short weeks, gaining lots of new skills and confidence!!! Go Mandy!
40th Birthday Luncheon for Clair!!! We celebrated on Thanksgiving, so it was nice to spend a day typically shared with family, with a great group of women. (pictured from left to right: Nicola, Rene, Carol, Michelle, Cornelia, Sara, Me, Clair, Rachel)
This year Thanksgiving was a bit easier than last. Though still away from home and missing our family, we have our life and routine here now and Thanksgiving Day in England is, well, just another day. So we called home to chat and then celebrated with our own Thanksgiving feast on Saturday.
Because there is no Thanksgiving here, Christmas festivities start in early to mid November. Many tree lighting events take place before American Thanksgiving is celebrated. To kick off the Christmas festivities, we headed to Hyde Park to the Winter Wonderland!! There was a lot to do, rides and games for the kids, arts and crafts for sale, ice skating, Father Christmas was there, lots of tasty food and TONS of people...Next year I am going to venture over during the school/work week to really take a look at the craft stalls!!
As we move into December.... The quest for the perfect Christmas Card photo begins!!! My trick for the last few years is to get the kids to make different funny faces for different emotions, then all of the sudden I throw in the "Give me your best smile"...I have gotten lucky!! Here is a look at sad, silly, scary, then SMILE!!!
December 3rd was a super busy day for us. We had the School Christmas Fair for most of the morning and early afternoon and then the evening was spent hosting Keith's office staff Christmas Party. Though an exhausting day, it was a lot of fun and a great way to get the holiday spirit going! The much anticipated school Christmas show was on December 12th & 14th. Mandy was chosen for the role of Mary, which has been her dream since her 3 year old show at St. Therese Nursery School. She was so excited, and even had a small solo speaking and singing part. Super proud of her!!! Ryan was an angel, very fitting of course, with his classmates. We were also very proud of him because he actually got up there and sang this year!!! YAY Ryan!!!!
Mary & Joseph (Aka: Mandy & Aidan)
Ryan and his BFF Tom
December 14th I had my 30 week growth and development scan of Baby P #3. At that appointment, per Mandy's request, I had the Dr write the baby's gender down and put it in a sealed envelope for us to open Christmas morning. Here is a fabulous 3D image of the chubby cherub!!
December 16th was our flight back to Connecticut for the holidays!!! As we were waiting for the car that was going to take us to the airport, I received the much anticipated text from my brother that Baby Camden was on his way, making our trip home even more exciting!!! Here we are in front of the Heathrow Christmas Tree!!
Once home, we spent the first night relaxing and reconnecting with our much loved cat, Prince! We got a good nights sleep in anticipation of the busy week ahead. Our first stop the next morning...to the hospital to see Steve and Marissa and to meet Camden!!!
Once we left the hospital, it was off to Lila's 1st birthday party for a quick visit, a few long over due hugs and a cupcake, or two!!
Then back to our house for a pizza party with our 4 parents, my grandmother and Keith's brother Chris. First of many busy days!!!
Sunday was supposedly just a lunch date with a few of my girlfriends and their families, but in actuality it was a surprise 40th birthday party for Keith. He was a bit suspicious in the few days leading up to it, and then after an accidental slip by Mandy the day before, his suspicions were confirmed. He was however, very surprised by not only who attended, but also by how many people were there to celebrate with him. Great day, with so many wonderful people!!! Thanks to everyone who attended and made the day so special!!
The rest of our time at home went by so quickly. We decorated the house, finished up Christmas shopping and wrapping, got to catch up with the Campagna Family next door, I got a girls night out with Anne and Jamie, had dinner with the Smith Family, made Christmas cookies with my mom, had dinner with Keith's parents and brother, Keith had his guys night out, dinner with the Castonguay Family...and before we knew it, the holiday weekend was upon us. Here are a few cookie making pictures!
Quick visit and cuddle with Camden!
Chris was kind enough to offer to host Christmas Eve at his house this year. It was nice to spend a quiet evening with the Pelatowski side of the family, enjoying a nice dinner together and exchanging gifts.
Christmas day was spent at our house. We had a quiet morning just the four of us, exchanging some gifts and spending time together. During that time Ryan was able to open the envelope and Mandy read the words "IT'S A BOY!!!!" That was by far the best present of the day. Sharing that moment together as we revealed the gender of the newest member of our family.
Later in the morning, my parents, grandmother, Steve, Marissa and Camden came over for gifts and dinner.
It was nice having a new member of the family there (even though he slept through most of it!). We look forward to many holidays with Camden and our little boy playing and causing trouble together! Later in the afternoon we opened the doors to more of our extended family and had about 20-25 people over in total. It was great having everyone together despite my grandmother falling and breaking her ankle. Unfortunately, she was taken by ambulance to the hospital and missed the afternoon festivities. Thankfully, besides a broken ankle, she is perfectly healthy!!
The day after Christmas, I was invited to my cousin Jenn's house to have "coffee" with and her sister/my cousin, Amy. Mandy and I arrived and were greeted by some of my aunts, cousins, my mom and sister in law, who were gathered to celebrate the anticipated arrival of Baby P. It was so nice to see everyone and to have a special time to focus on the excitement of the new baby! Thank you Jenn and Amy for pulling this off!!
On our last two days at home, we took down all the decorations, ran a few errands, and spent some time with Kelley and Mia, as well as with my parents, Keith's parents, Chris, and Steve, Marissa and Camden. The trip went by so fast, but was filled with so many great moments. Of course before leaving, we made time for a few more cuddles with Prince.
Upon return to London, we had a week to fill before school started back up for the kids. Keith jumped right back into work and the kids and I took it easy adjusting to the time change. I did manage to fit in a ladies night and we also celebrated New Year's Eve with some friends!!
Nicola, Carol, Me, Cornelia and Rene
New Year's Eve with Nicola, Rene and Rachel
January was a pretty quiet month. The kids got back into school, I got back into my routine and Keith began a month of crazy travel for work. Mandy has continued to do well in both tennis and basketball and looks forward to both each week. She has expressed an interest in taking drumming lessons at school (let me emphasize AT SCHOOL) and continues to do well with her academics. Ryan has yet to show any interest in joining a sport or club, but he does continue to do well in school, has a great group of friends to play with and has FINALLY started to participate in PE class!!! Other special moments in January...The kids Chinese New Year Assembly at school and celebrating Keith's birthday!!!
(notice Ryan sitting while the rest of the class participates!!)
February....at last!!!! What is so great about February??? Well, we had our first London snowfall and Keith and Mandy were able to build snowmen for the first time over here!!
Throwing snowballs at Mommy as I sit inside nice and warm!!
The other fantastic thing about February...the month we welcome the new little man!!! So excited for his arrival and look forward to our next post being all about him! I hope I never go three months without a post...but then again who knows what kind of craziness is heading our way!!! Love to you all!!!