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Thursday, February 21, 2013

So Much Going On In December!!!

December is always a busy month no matter where you live. Everyday life is continuing on all while holiday parties and events are scheduled and shopping, decorating and wrapping are taking place. Because we head back to Connecticut for Christmas, organisation is key for my sanity during this month. Essentially we shop in two places and decorate in two places, and then in the span of 12-14 days, we pack for 5 people twice, fly 14-15 hours, and visit with 40-50 people. It can be challenging and exhausting at times, but in the end worth it.

Before heading home on the 20th, we had a few school events that kept us busy. On the 2nd of December we had the Darell School Christmas Fair. This is an annual event that helps raise money for the school. This year we took the fair in a slightly different direction than years past and were extremely successful. We had a number of outside vendors, a whole room dedicated to kids games and crafts, Santa's Grotto, the school choir sang and our youngest dance class performed, and we served some amazing food from the BBQ, International Buffet and Cake Sale! We were thrilled with the turnout and the money earned for the school!


Ryan and Mandy Decorating the Christmas Tree in London.


On the 7th of December we went to the Kew Sparkle for Mandy to sing with the school choir. The Kew Sparkle is held in the village and is a fun little kick off to the holidays. There are holiday lights, various food stalls, mulled wine, school choirs singing and the stores are typically open late for shopping. It is a fun little tradition that we enjoy each year.

Mandy singing with friends.
Our crew, Cameron, Audrey, Molly, Rory,
Mandy, Liam & Ryan

Waiting for the bus home
Mommy & Kiddies

Aiden Being Cheeky 
The annual Christmas Card Photo Shoot... Always an interesting event. Mandy is usually willing, Ryan usually not so much. Keith thinks I take too many, I usually want more. Then this year we had Aiden to consider...All in all I think it went well. It only took 51 shots to get what I needed, not bad if I do say so myself!!! Here are a few that we liked most!

Individual Shots

Double Shots

All Three Together!
Time for the School Christmas Shows!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that the kids are able to do a Christmas show at school. Over here all religions and ethnic holidays are celebrated and recognised, which allows the kids to be exposed to all different types of celebrations. It is fabulous and something I really appreciate. Here are a few pictures of Mandy and Ryan in their shows. The theme of Mandy's was Christmas over the ages...Her class was Christmas present so no costume needed.  Ryan's was more of the traditional Christmas story. His class were the narrators so again, no costume needed!! I lucked out this year!!!!

As we all know, crawling/walking babies + decorated Christmas tree = undecorated Christmas tree!
Here is Aiden being cheeky with the ornaments!

We're Home!! Going back to our house in Connecticut is always met with mixed emotions. It is so nice to be back in the comforts of our home with all our stuff and so much space, but also hard because we never really complete settle in. It is however wonderful to spend time with family and friends, let the kids reconnect with everyone and go shopping at some of our favourite spots! Here is a photo summary of our time at home!

 Fun with Lila & Julia
Play time with Tanner & Madelynn
(Missed you Jori)

Christmas Eve at Uncle Chris' House
Santa Came to see the kids!

Matching PJ's!
I Got What!!!
Can you say excited?
Ummmm...What's this?
Christmas Day Fun!!!!

Camden & Aiden...Buds
The Four Cousins
Grammy & the Little Guys

Favourite photo of Camden
These two are trouble!

Chilling with Daddy
Uncle Chris...Where's my DS?
Of course while we were home, there had to be a snow storm! The snow was beautiful and the kids had a blast, too bad it had to happen on the only night we had plans to meet all of our friends out for drinks!!! Oh well...Such is life in New England!!

Mandy & Luke
Trudging up the hill

Waiting his turn
After all the fun at home, we packed up the clothes and all the presents and hopped back on the plane to London. It was a great time at home but now time to get back to the routine...oh yeah and packing up the Christmas decorations...AGAIN!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

November in a Nutshell

Starting the month off with our trip to Brussels seemed to get November off to a pretty fast start. Once the kids got settled back into school, it felt like in the blink of an eye it was the 15th of the month and Grandma and Aunt Sheryl were arriving for their visit. My Grandmother has become a bit of an international traveller again in recent years. This was her 3rd visit with us in two and a half years!! On this particular trip they stopped to see us for 3 days on their way home from Zambia, where they were visiting my cousin Maureen (Sheryl's daughter). Of course I had to take them into the city so Sheryl could see some of the iconic London sights!! Though brief, it was a great visit!!

Gotta See Big Ben!

Buckingham Palace from St. James Park

An Enormous Stork!

Quite a Photogenic Chap!

Of Course We Stopped to See The Queen!
One of my favourite things about where Mandy and Ryan go to school, are the assemblies, I am pretty sure that I get choked up at each and every one. I am constantly amazed by how talented, enthusiastic and well mannered the students are not to mention the pride that they have in themselves, each other and their school. It really does bring a tear to my eye ( not to mention hearing them all sing with the British accents!!!). So this month, Ryan and his class had their class assembly. They sang a few songs, performed a little skit and showed off some of their creative work based on the book Mister Magnolia by Quentin Blake. Ryan has come a long way in a short time. He started school this year very timid and reluctant to participate, however as you can see by the pictures below, he is very much involved and doing a great job with it! Way to go Ryan!!

Showing off his cooperative project he did with Sophie

His Mister Magnolia Drawing

His Mister Magnolia Shoe!


Well, it wouldn't be November without mention of Thanksgiving! This is always a difficult holiday for us to be away from home, simply because it is a non existent holiday here. The last two years we would have a little dinner with the four of us and skype with family back home. This year however, we had a proper Thanksgiving with all the fixings....on Saturday!!! Lucky for us, we have a great group of American friends here who helped make this holiday traditional and special! Thank you to The Walter, Wendel and Parshall Families for a great evening!!!

Molly, Mandy, Libby, Audrey, Molly, Aiden, Rory, Ryan, Liam and Cameron
Brian, Carol, Keith, Me, Katie, David, Erin & Daniel

Here's a toothy smile of Mr. Aiden at 9 months!!  

So that is "November in a Nutshell".