Christmas Week

I just can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve last written here, or how long each post takes to type up. I’m slowing up in my old age! Anyway, another recap!

Christmas was very nice. We had our quietest ever—no new babies (2 years in a row), no builders (the next 2 years in a row!), no marital breakdowns (only one, so far!!)—just a lovely day followed by a fun week! We spent the day at home.

The kids each got a decent set of binoculars so we went to the nature reserve down the road and went bird spotting. Yes, we’re turning them into bird-watchers (or as they are also known-twitchers!) and we’re having fun with it. They’ve really enjoyed a series here called Spring/Autumn watch. I’ve really enjoyed learning about birds as well—something I started before Hazel was born. Then we spent the rest of the day in front of the fire playing with the kids new games and puzzles.

Boxing Day was spent at my cousins. She had her chemo treatment the Friday before, so she was feeling well enough for visitors. My aunt and uncle came over as well—bringing lunch with them. A nice afternoon was had by all.

Wednesday we headed into London. We spent two nights there and had a really good trip. Most of the time was spent on trains and buses, which we all enjoyed. We printed off a London bus route map and went sight-seeing via the double-decker buses, much to the kids (Michaels) amusement. Especially on the 2nd bus as they had the front seats upstairs—which was a great way for them to see Big Ben.They are both convinced Mary Poppins lives there and were disappointed not to see her. Especially as her pictures were everywhere, thanks to the play. So Hazel might write her a letter, care of Big Ben, so she can invite her round. She assures me it’s just for a visit and that she does not want Mary Poppins to look after them.

On Wednesday we went to the Natural History Museum. We just had a walk around the dinosaur exhibit and the stuffed animal room. Hazel thought the whale was amazing—whereas Kieran went straight to the dinosaur bones. It was the 1st time he’s shown any real interest in dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaurs on exhibit moved a bit and a large t-rex roared, which he was very wary of. We convinced them it was ok and just a toy, or else he probably would have run the other way. They have a dino exhibit which is something you have to pay to see—but we had enough coping with the normal exhibit. The best part of the museum was probably the kiddie carousel outside. They rode it once on Wednesday and twice on Thursday. After the museum we went to Hamleys Toy store—but our two just aren’t thrilled by any toy shop—not even Hamleys, after a day of travelling.

Thursday was spent roaming around the city. We went to the Leadenhall Market for breakfast. Had a weird ‘Chitty Chitty Bang! Bang!’ moment there. It was a small little deli—you ordered your food downstairs and then ate it upstairs. Well, as Michael was ordering the kids and I went upstairs—and felt as if we had walked into the middle of a private party. It was a small room, with low ceilings, with the tables in a long ‘L’ shape on both sides of the room. All conversation stopped at the sight of two children and a woman—it was all men in their business suits who weren’t used to kids at their regular breakfast bar! When they realized the children weren’t going to attack, the men went about their conversations! After breakfast the kids had their 1st purchase in a sweet shop. We bought chocolate covered raisins which I know isn’t a real ‘sweet’, but they had to start somewhere!

The next port of call was at Covent Garden. We caught a street act there—which after they relaxed a bit and realized no one was going to get hurt the kids really enjoyed. They even put money in the mans hat. After the performance they had there 2nd purchase from a sweet vendor! This time it was for liquorice—they definitely don’t like the black ones!

Then we took another bus ride to see Big Ben and had a nice seat in the little park there watching for boats along the Thames. They think the London Eye looks fun, so maybe we’ll go next time. After that we had a nice stroll through St. Jame’s Park. Well, Michael and I strolled while our offspring frightened the daylights out of the birds and squirrels. They are fascinated by squirrels as we rarely see them. They chased one up a tree, and he had an acorn in his mouth. He ran half-way up and then suddenly turned and was looking down at them, as if to say if they came any closer he was going to bop them with his acorn. They of course thought this was hilarious!

So all in all, it was a fun time—very laid back, but enough to entertain us all. Have to say how proud we are of them—especially Hazel—as she walked everywhere without a fuss. She must have been exhausted by Thursday night, but she never complained. Kieran got Michael to carry him on his shoulders fairly often stating he was just ever so tired—though if he saw a pigeon he ran after it faster than any ‘so, so tired’ boy should have! But he was suffering from a viral infection—and even woke up Thursday with conjunctivitis—so he did really well! Aren’t we cruel—dragging a poor sick one around the city!!

We decided after London to drive north to his folks. So off we went for about a 4 ½ hour drive to go say hello! We had booked a hotel room in advance, knowing we could cancel if we thought London was too much for us. The kids were great on the car ride—I love that they have no idea what boredom means and can be entertained by just talking with each other. So we spent the night up north. They saw their grandparents, their great-nan and their cousin Jamie. We left Saturday about lunchtime. When we got on the M6 to come home—there was traffic. So we went to the Peak District to go to the bookshop I love. Michael will do anything—even an extra three hours of driving- to avoid traffic. So we had a great time looking at all the books—and came home with about 20 books to find room for on the shelves! After the bookstore we went to a Fish-and-chip shop we’d been to last summer and had a great dinner. We got in about 8pm—so not too terrible.

New Years Eve was really nice. We were invited to our friends’ house for the evening. They usually have a few friends round each year. We put the kids, and us, down for a nap about 3pm for almost 3 hours. It worked—as we all stayed up till we got home at just 1am. There were about 7 kids for most of the evening and they al
l had a good time playing and dancing. Obviously though—the year started with all four of us being very tired—and I came down with a cold I’m still trying to shake.

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