Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Some of you may remember that Olivia asked Father Christmas for a stuffed owl toy in her Christmas letter. She got one, as you can see. She was delighted.
Sarah was hoping she'd get a Nintendo DS for her main present - she did - she was so pleased she didn't even bother to complain I was photographing her!
Here's Alex opening what will turn out to be a complete set of Just William stories on CD - good for listening to at bedtime.
And of course, if one girl gets a DS, the other has to have one... They are going to share the games, though!
And Alex wanted "small lego" (i.e. not Duplo, but proper Lego) - this is a complete fire station set - some assembly required! I have to say, though, the instructions for putting together Lego are excellent - if only flatpack furniture instructions were so easily followed!
Snoopy Pyjamas. Big Snoopy Fan.
Some of the Lego, including an extendable ladder fire engine.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Some of you may have been following along with the family blog all year long, in which case, you might not want to read this (so you have my permission to skip this post, LOL). But for those who want to revisit, or those who only pop in once or twice a year, here's a little of what we've been up to this year!
After a quick look at last year's letter, I guess the place to start is with our little friends - we got our gerbils just before Christmas last year - this broccoli eater above is Ozzie, who is black with white feet and tail; there is also Gerry, who is tan and Billy, who is mostly black. They have been really successful pets, as it happens - I recommend them highly. They are very clean, don't smell much, need little in the way of cage cleaning and are not nocturnal (which hamsters are) so they are awake some during the day, so kids can interact with them... And they are really cute. Great fun to watch them dig and make tunnels everywhere.
In February, Alex turned 5 and went to a load of parties for 5 year old friends. He's nearly 6 now, and is in Year 1 in school, and is reading up a storm and doing lots of other great stuff. He's a huge chatterbox (never stops talking except while asleep - hopefully he'll learn to control it a bit in school or it will get him into trouble) and as you can see, very cute and charming. Just saw him today in the Christmas play at school - didn't take my camera - he played a very cute snowman. And did it very well.
Here are the kids dyeing eggs at Easter-time in March - and although that was a fairly normal exercise, the snow (ok, not very much, admittedly) that we had to go with the other Easter activities was a lot less normal. And as if that wasn't weird enough, we had snow AGAIN in the spring, even more of it the second time! The kids were excited of course, though I think they'd really rather have it this time of year - not likely we'll see a white Christmas here, though, even if it does get plenty cold enough sometimes.
Shortly after the snow, we had a day at the beach (ok, it wasn't really beach weather, but we were down near the coast so it was too good an opportunity to miss - and it was plenty warm enough to be outside hanging out, even if it wasn't wading weather) - lots of photos from that outing, which started with a trip to Yesterday's World - a kind of past-times museum - over here.
The Spring Holiday had some other excursions, including a trip to Grandma Lucy's, a visit to town and a trip to Richmond Park - just the usual, really. As it happens, that was the last trip to Grandma Lucy's that we've taken as a family as she got shingles a bit later in the year and finds the idea of all of us visiting a bit overwhelming (not surprisingly). Geoff went up in the summer on his own for a weekend, and he and Sarah are going to go up for a weekend over Christmas. She's getting better, but it's a slow recovery.
In May, we took a trip to visit our friends in Ireland - loads of pics from the visit are over here on flickr - and here - and here - it was a nice visit - they always are - their girls and our girls get on well (mine like to take care of the little ones) and Alex loves his girlfriend Aine.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Lots of help this year with the baking - not being sarcastic - there really was. Sarah did the whole pumpkin cake more or less by herself, and both girls did large parts of other recipes virtually unaided. Makes it a lot less stressful, really. Made a couple of new things this year - Florentines and some fudge. Both worked out well. Also made jam thumbprints, ginger cookies, butterscotch shortbread, fudge meltaways, peanut butter chocolate no-bakes, rice krispie treats and butter horn cookies - my Dad's favourite cookie. Those of you who know me will know I am not a highly sentimental person, but it wouldn't really be Christmas without those. We all like them, too, which helps!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
New tree this year - a bit bigger, so it takes up more floor space, but I like it - for the first year in a long time, I didn't put up ALL the ornaments I own - there were just too many. I didn't help things by doing a couple of ornament swaps this year and ending up with a dozen or so new ornaments, I admit. One more to come, in fact. But I'm sure I can squeeze one on. The girls have a small tree in their room, where they have hung some of the ornaments they've received over the years, but some of them are on this one. We like it - one thing I like a lot is that the lights are fitted onto the tree to begin with, so no need to spend an hour trying to space them out properly - I'm pleased with the effect they give. It still takes a while to get the long strand of red beads sorted, but with both girls helping, it works fairly well. No tinsel for us - I don't really like the stuff - too bulky, takes over the tree, I think. Of course, it depends what kind of look you are aiming for, but despite the cracks my DH would make about the number of ornaments we have, I do like to be able to see some of the green parts of the tree (even if they are fake!).
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Yep, it's a little cake, really. Or rather, it was. It's now been demolished. Olivia brought it home from cooking club today - the body of the reindeer is a cake, the head is pure icing - but it's really sweet. I particularly love the scarf, and her attention to detail is great!
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Alex's class is going to be snowmen for the nativity play at school - here he is in his little costume - the coal buttons (required) were made from old socks. At the moment, they are just pinned on with safety pins, but I might sew them later.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Here's Alex having a go on the trampoline at Bockett's Farm Park - it was a very cold visit to the farm, but we really needed to get out of the house for a while as we have been totally taken over by having the living room painted - the living room is inaccessible, of course, but so is the computer/dining room - well, not inaccessible, but really crowded, as that's where all the stuff that would normally be in the living room is. So when I drover Sarah & a few others down to Guide camp yesterday (they only went for 1 night as they all were sitting the secondary school entrance exam in the morning) I took Alex along for the ride and then over to the farm for a few hours. He had a great time, but it was really cold. Even in the playbarn, he kept his coat on the whole time.
This morning we even work up with a small coating of snow - not really enough to get excited about (unless you are 5) but it was there. Olivia, on Brownie Pack Holiday should be ok, as they were sleeping in cabins, but Sarah & the other guides were sleeping in tents - I reckon they had a very cold night. The leader rang this morning and said they were going to pack up a little early today - leave at 2pm rather than 4pm - which I can understand as the snow has now turned to rain and it's still really cold. Of course, if you will plan a camping trip in November!! Then again, last weekend was so mild we didn't need coats on, so you never know.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Olivia's class performed today at the Kingston Primary Performing Arts Festival, and took first in their category - well done, them. I have some still photos, too, but they all have red-eye, so until I sort that, I won't post them. [This is only part of the poem; I didn't video the entire thing as it's fairly long.]
Saturday, November 01, 2008
A trip up to town on a rather cold, and in the end, miserable, wet day.... Here are some of the kiddies at the train station, waiting for the train to arrive - definitely hat weather!
First stop was the Transport Museum, where I seemed to have managed not to take any photos. We then walked down to the Aldwych and grabbed a bus up Fleet Street to St Paul's Cathedral, where we went in only as far as the coffee shop in the crypt...
...as it was quite expensive to actually go into the Cathedral and with small, unappreciative children, we didn't deem it worthwhile. We did, however, find this somewhat amusing stone on the floor:
Perhaps not amusing to all, but Sarah enjoyed it. So we walked around the church (but not widdershins*, of course!) and then got back on the bus to Waterloo.
*an old English word for anticlockwise - it's meant to be bad luck to walk around a church in that direction, apparently
And I share this photo on behalf of Alex, who enjoyed the cranes which the London skyline always seems to be littered with...
Friday, October 31, 2008
...which produced this [mine, Aine's, Alex's]:
and this [Sarah's, Olivia's]:
There was then some of this:
And later some of this:
Followed finally by lots of this: