Monday, December 24, 2007

Grandma Melrose arrives

Hi All

Marion arrived safe and sound and we have been busy over her first few days. Friday we went to the North Pole. Well actually it was Colorado Springs and Santa's Workshop. We had a brilliant time and I will take the children again. Santa was very believable and it was handy to hear that Jacob wants a Star Wars game for Christmas and Abi asked for shoes! We left as it started snowing and had a very slow drive back home. I only skidded as we turned into our road narrowly avoiding a wall! I was driving our 'new' people carrier (minivan for those Americans reading this). I love it, Allen's not keen.

Jacob came home from school with a Gingerbread house that he made with his study buddy - see photo. He's gradually been eating it! Also found out at the hospital that he's definitely allergic to eggs so we'll have to be a bit more careful with what he eats. His lung capacity has improved 300% though so his inhalers are doing the job. Next appointment for him is 7th January (eyes). Abi's fine, well apart for the let me do it, don't touch me etc.....

Saturday was the Nutcracker. It was a good performance. Only 45mins each half. At half time Jacob and Abi twirled all over the place (see photo). They both lasted very well although Abi went out 10 mins before the end as she needed the loo. So our first ballet show went down very well with everyone.

Sunday it was food shopping for taking up to Breckenridge and last minute presents. We also had 2 Christmas parties to go to. Allen and I went to one on our own which was nice and then we all went to a school one. Very successful and a nice started to the holiday.

Got to now pack the Ford up with presents, clothes, food and the tree to take up to the lodge for the week. We're taking Jacob and Abi skiing later and Marion's sorting the lodge out! Will be skiing on Christmas morning and then enjoying a huge ham plus all the trimmings.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and fun New Year


Monday, December 17, 2007

Super Skiers!

Well from the title you can probably guess what our weekend was all about! We went to Arapahoe Basin on Saturday afternoon and Jacob and Abi had a 2 and a half hour lesson. There were only three of them in their group so they got lots of tuition. Allen and I went off and skied. It got a little cold and I actually bought a nose mask as I thought I was about to get frost bite. It was warmer where the children were but when I went and got them they were cold and had had enough. Afternoon lessons may not be a good idea in the future as they were too tired. However it didn't put them off and today we skied at Breckenridge. We'd booked a private lesson with someone off of Craigslist. I then started worrying that he could be a kidnapper or child molester so had decided I was going to stay with them the whole lesson. It didn't matter as he wanted me there anyway! Jacob listened and learned, Abi was having none of it and wouldn't let anyone touch her! So after three hours Jacob was turning and snow ploughing like a pro, Abi was a demon straight down the hill and sod anyone who got in her way! The only way she'd stop was by falling over and that was only if someone was in the way. Not sure what we're going to do with her so any suggestions would be appreciated. We stayed the Saturday night in a house belonging to someone through Allen's work. It was great, 4 bedrooms and very cosy. Even better that it was free. So we hope to go lots more. We've booked Greg (the private ski instructor) for 2 more half days while we're up next week so are hoping that Jacob will then be skiing anywhere and I'm not quite sure about my darling Abi! You should have seen me shouting as she was heading for a tree! As you will see from the photos she is wearing a helmet.
No other news. Very busy over the next couple of weeks so I should have a variety of photos to post. Marion arrives Thursday and we're getting her busy straight away with a visit to Santa Land (or something like that) down at Colorado Springs. Jacob and Abi are very excited over meeting Santa so I hope he's good. Last year they met him in a small Forest in Melrose that was very believable so this one will hopefully be as good.
Have a festive and fun time

Sunday, December 9, 2007

First Sledging!

Hi All
Have just returned from our local park after a morning of sledging (Carrie you may recognise it). Everyone had a great time. Allen is now clearing our driveway and the children are playing out the front. We had a bout 4 inches of snow over the last 24 hours and it's just lovely in the sunshine for playing. Not sure how good it'll be to make a snowman but I'll find out after lunch!
Had a busy week at school as I've been helping with the book fair. Hopefully made lots of money/books for school. Also went to a fund raising Casino night which was good fun.
Christmas dos start this week with a wives one and British one. Will go weather dependent. Definitely going skiing next weekend and are booking the children into lessons Saturday and Sunday so we'll see how it goes.
Jacob's off for his asthma clinic this week, all seems fine with him. Had his first semester report card and he's doing brilliantly. He knows all his numbers to 100 and all his letters. I have had no part in this! He's getting on well with his Spanish and is so enthusiastic about school. I am really not looking forward to the 3 months off over the summer as Jacob moans when it's Saturday! Abi's being good at school too.
Hope all's well with everyone

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas is coming!

Hi All
Well we put up our Christmas decorations today and I bet you wouldn't be able to guess who was the most excited? Jacob and Abi helped for about 30 mins and then reverted to playing with long lost toys that had to be moved to allow the tree to be put up. Allen hoovered and then disappeared upstairs with the children. I then had a lovely couple of hours sorting everything out. I will post a picture next week in front of the tree. Have to get lots of photos of Jacob prior to Christmas as after this weeks visit to the dentist,where he informed me that Jacob will be loosing all his front teeth by Christmas, it won't be a pretty sight! I thought this happened around 6 but apparently not. Got all the lights up too so we're looking rather festive. Most of our street have put lights up too so we have reindeer, santas, snowmen and some tasteful lights too!
There's a photo of Jacob and Abi doing snow angels on our driveway before school one day this week. Not loads of snow but enough to play in. The mountains had a foot yesterday. Still haven't managed to get up to ski but maybe next weekend. Did go and get Jacob more snow trousers and boots today and Abi a new ski jacket.
Also a photo from a recent visit to the zoo in the snake part - very impressive. You may notice Abi has a new hair cut. She sat beautifully for the cut. At the dentist she was an angel and actually enjoyed it - mad girl. Jacob however howled his way through the appointment.
Busy week with a school fundraiser - Casino night, plus book fair too.
Hope all's well with everyone

Sunday, November 25, 2007

UK visit Nov 07

Have just returned from the UK on a nightmare flight with Abi. The trip was good but coming home took a little longer due to problems at Heathrow. We sat for 2 hours on the plane before take off. Abi, by which point, had had enough as had the rest of us! Luckily she fell asleep before Allen threw her off the plane. Anyway we were on that plane for 12 hours. (you would have loved it Ceri!)No bumpiness so I was OK.
The UK visit was great. Nanny's funeral was full of great memories and I learnt a few things about her that I didn't know.(She'd once met Charlie Chaplin.) Jacob and Abi had a great time with their cousins and Grandparents. Allen's mum came down from Scotland so it was good to catch up with her - photo at the station. She's out here on the 20th Dec which everyone is looking forward to. It was my sister's 40th while we were back which was a bit over shadowed really. We did go to the pub for lunch though - see photo. We also managed to catch up with local friends and there's a photo of Jacob and Abi in dress up stuff with friends William and Isobel.
Thought we'd visit again in the summer but we're going to wait and see what devil child is like before we book.
Arrived back to snow in Denver. Thought about going skiing this weekend but checked the weather and it's minus 25 centigrade in Breckenridge at the moment so I think we'll wait for a bit longer!
Hope everyone's well

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jacob's 5th Birthday

Jacob's Birthday weekend was a great success even though we did have a few language issues with the Mc Donald's staff! We started the day with present opening - lots from the UK so thank you to all those people who got them here on time. He loved walking in and seeing them all piled on the table (see photo). My mum and dad used to always do that and it was something I looked forward to every year. He wasted no time demolishing the pile, letting Abi help too. We got him a Spiderman scooter which has been well ridden by both of them - we know what to get Abi for Christmas! After a bit of a play, with most things, it was swimming lesson time. They both enjoyed the lesson, neither listening much and doing their own thing! We had a quick stop for cake at the cafe on the way home and then Jacob and Daddy got back to building their Batman Lego creation, sent from Grandma Melrose. Jacob has wanted this set since his friend George got it when they visited us in DC back in April. Abi and I went and picked up the balloons for his party and then we all set off for Mc Donald's only to find that they had double booked the room and we had to set up in the restaurant. Allen was fuming but it all worked out well and everyone had a brilliant time. The play area was a hit, as was the cake.

We arrived home tired but having to get ready for the neighbours coming round. Did a party tea with a castle cake - see photos. It was much more relaxing with the neighbours, perhaps due to the champagne! They are also very easy going. Jacob really enjoyed his day.

It's been lovely weather today, so after some last minute shopping to take back to the UK and lunch out, we went to Washington Park and took the scooter and bike for a trip around the lake. It was so nice being out in shorts and T shirts, I have a feeling we won't be wearing that this coming week in Hertfordshire!

So am all packed, just snacks for the journey to sort. Hope to see some of you in the UK over the next 10 days. Hope all's well with everyone. Would have been Nanny's 98th Birthday today so Happy Birthday Nanny. I will be raising a glass as soon as I'm done here.


Sunday, November 4, 2007


Hi All

Halloween was great fun. It started the day before with a whole school trip to a Fall Festival. I've included a photo of Abi on the pillow bounce. It was a huge inflated pillow. We also enjoyed a corn maze, well it was hot and I had Abi on my shoulders but Jacob enjoyed it! There was a train and hay ride too so a busy day really.

There was a school Halloween party that I helped at. Well, Abi took most of my attention so how much help I gave was debatable! I've included a photo of Jacob doing the candy corn race. If you've never had candy corn it's a sugar hard sweet that Americans seem to love - not sure why!

Halloween night was dry but cold. Luckily Allen went round our close and the next one too with Jacob as a bat, and Abi as a cat. I stayed at Keli's ( a neighbour over the road)and had a drink. They came back with plenty of candy which should last us the month.

Booked Jacob's 5th Birthday party at Mc Donalds. Out here they have big play areas that go with the actual restaurant so there should be plenty to do. He's very excited although Abi is a bit confused as she's picked out a cake too and keeps telling everyone what she wants for her birthday! I think I'll have to find a few things to give her on the day to soften the blow! (Mum's sent something out so that'll be a good start - thank you Mum.)

We're coming back to the UK a week tomorrow (12th Nov). Sadly Nanny died having nearly reached 98 years old. Looking forward to seeing everyone but wish it was for a happier reason.

Will try and blog from the UK but with no broadband in Holwell that could be pushing it! I'll do Jacob's birthday though next week. Back in the US on the 23rd so we'll be missing Thanksgiving.

See some of you soon


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Hi All
Well we have just returned from a great trip travelling through 3 states, 3 National Parks and seeing some amazing scenery on the way. Our holiday took us through Colorado, Utah and Arizona, our aim being to have fun with the Sweatlands in Page, AZ. Well we truly achieved our aim. It was good to see everyone carry on with their friendships from where they were left in August. Carrie and Brian were excellent hosts, as usual, and Jake and Annie warmed immediately to the whole family. On Friday we went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where Allen went off in a helicopter ride and Carrie, me and the children did a lovely walk avoiding the edge of the Canyon but collecting many 'treasures' along the way (luckily they were left in Page!). The Grand Canyon is a lot bigger than I thought for - silly to say that perhaps, but if you've seen the real thing you'll know what I mean. Allen and I want to return and hope to stay in the actual park next time (Carrie lives about 2 and a half hours away).
Saturday we went on a hike to the Toad Stools (see photo). We all enjoyed the walk, Jacob loved kicking his way there! After the hike we had a picnic lunch on Lake Powell with Jake and Abi playing nicely with the buckets! (see photo)
Had to leave on Sunday but hope to visit again and also meet up for a camping trip in the Spring. Stopped at Arches National Park on the way back - see photo. Another amazing landscape.
Arrived back in Denver Monday PM a little tired but really pleased to have done the trip. Harvest day out at school tomorrow and then Halloween. Jacob's varying between being the Red Power Ranger and a bat! Abi will be a princess no matter what!
Hope all's well

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What a change in weather!

Well we have had our first snow in Denver today since living here. Very strange, as yesterday it was T shirt weather, and today snow gear! (You'll see from the photos.)
Jacob was off school Thursday with a cold and we had a lovely day doing arty Halloween things. Friday they were both off as it was Parent Teacher conferences. I got good reports on both of them. Jacob's teacher said he is the first child she has taught who knows his sounds and not letter names and Abi's teacher said she tested the boundaries for 2 weeks but then accepted that there was a teacher in charge and it wasn't Abi herself! Can't think who she takes after at all! Her teacher said she's a pleasure to have in the class and misses her when she's not there. So I was very happy with them.
I took Jacob, Abi and their friend Will to the zoo on Friday (See photo). Met up with Kirk and Cody and had a fun time. Jacob and Will could have been anywhere but everyone else enjoyed the animals.
Picked Allen up from the airport Saturday lunchtime - hooray! Everyone was extremely pleased to see him.
Have had a fun morning in the snow, bouncing on the trampoline and building a snowman - which, as always, I enjoyed the most. Cooking Sunday lunch at the mo and then we're off to meet a new British family who have the same aged children as our 2. More snow ball fights planned I think.
Off to see Carrie, Jake, Annie and Brian in Arizona this coming week. Booking a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon. I'm just looking forward to seeing our friends. So should be posting some interesting photos.
Hope all's well with everyone

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Birthday Party Weekend

Hi All
Well we had a busy weekend of parties (as you could probably guess from the title of this blog!)
Saturday started with Jacob and Abi's first swimming lessons. They loved it although Allen and I thought there were too many children to really get anything achieved. Doesn't matter though as as long as they are enjoying themselves that will do for now.
Next I went and did some community helping in a local shared garden. We pulled up the old path to make way for a new one. A sweaty hour later and I needed a shower! Tatiana's party was next. She's in Jacob's EK class (Early Kindergarten for non Americans). Her mum had said Abi could come too so that was handy. It was held in the Denver Uni Gym and was brilliant. Allen and I even had a go on the trampoline. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Sunday we had a work colleague and family around for lunch and then Jacob went off for a super hero party. He dressed up as Spiderman. It was at Cody's house (a kindergarten child) and was catered for my Oogles and Googles. A company providing 2 hours of entertainment in certain themes, this one being Super heroes. We didn't have to stayed so that was nice!
Teacher consultations this Friday. The children have the day off - what a good idea -so no evening wasted for them. America have some things right!
Allen goes to DC tomorrow for the RAF conference, we'll miss him. We will have a busy week as usual!
Hope all's well with everyone
PS photos are of the children jumping in the foam pit, Allen had to do it too!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Estes Park

Well we made it to Estes Park, it's actually the Rocky Mountain National Park but we stayed in a very sweet lodge just outside a town called Estes Park. Jacob and Abi managed 2 walks. One around a Lake called Bear Lake and another to Nymph Lake ( thanks for the advice Carrie, they were perfect walks for our 2). They just loved climbing on the rocks and I was panicking the whole time as I thought they were going to break their necks. We all really enjoyed it though and hope to visit again. We had 2 very different days weather as you will see from the photos. Day one was T shirt weather, day two snow gear! The lodge was great except for Jacob waking up at 5am and not going back to sleep!
Allen's off tomorrow for Columbus day but the children aren't so we've got the morning to catch up on videos.
The other major piece of news is that we are here for 2 years - well as sure as you can be in the forces. Hoping that will mean more people can visit. It also means we can plan out our trips a bit and not try to fit them all in in one year. We are still going to do all the ones we really want to do in a year just in case - Arizona (Carrie, are the dates OK?). Also planning on San Fran and Las Vegas ASAP. Hoping to meet Marion in Vancouver in June.
Also started selling a product called Arbonne, if anyone wants any details let me know....(Mum and Katharine may be intersted?)Off to bed, hope all's well

Monday, October 1, 2007

Grandma's gone but we have a 'new' car!

Grandma left on Tuesday and everyone is missing her. We have however managed to get a second hand car so I don't have to ferry Allen around anymore. It's an old Ford Explorer - see the photo.
Had a busy weekend, Jacob and Abi had a friend around to play on Saturday, they had a great time on the trampoline and driving the jeep. Took them to see the pumpkin patch near our house and everyone was impressed, will put a photo of it on next week. Saturday night we had someone Allen works with round for dinner which was a very pleasant night.
Sunday we picked up the car having popped out for breakfast and a play in the park before hand.
Fall is approaching here. Jacob and Abi have been tasked with collecting Fall items by their teachers, so we've been on leaf hunts and fir cone collections.
Going to finally join a gym this week. Have decided just to join the local Rec Centre instead of the posh sports club. Had a month's free trial and we managed to go once!
Hoping to go up to Estes Park and stay in a lodge next weekend so may have some nice fall pictures to post then.
Hope everyone's well

Monday, September 24, 2007

Grandma Melrose's 3rd and final week!

Well we've had a busy week. Grandma leaves on Tuesday and the whole family will miss her. A certain boy is already looking forward to her December visit!
This weekend Grandma kindly let me and Allen have a night away in Denver. We had a great time although both wished we hadn't visited Red Square ordering a carafe of raspberry and vanilla vodka! Also sampled the wares of the Pink Martini (they are doing a drink for Breast Cancer this month and it seemed wrong not to have it!) and the bar at The Oxford Hotel. Tried a very atmospheric Tapas place called 9th Door which I'm sure we will return to. Stayed in a B&B, sounds quite British but it was very American - I think the Americans think it is very British though.
Also this week we returned to Golden so Marion could go to the Quilt Museum, she said it was excellent. Allen and I took the kids to the park and for a play in the stream at this point. There's a photo taken by Abi of us at the cafe along the river.
Today we went to Chatfield Corn Maze. Allen moaned about the admission but we all enjoyed it. It took us 30 mins to get through it and I was a bit worried that we would be there all afternoon. We came across a pumpkin field while in the maze (photo), there's also a photo of Grandma and Jacob sneaking through the wrong path.
Off out for a nice lunch tomorrow and then it'll be time to say bye to Marion until Dec 20th when she returns.
Still haven't managed to get Allen a car yet so I'll be up at 5.15am to take him to work Monday - joy of joys!
Hope everyone's well
PS Accidently added one of Allen on our night out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Grandma Melrose's 2nd Week

Well, we've had a busy 2nd week of Grandma's holiday. We have just returned from a great few days in Breckenridge. It was Oktoberfest time while we were there and funnily enough we met someone from Tumbridge Wells. Sampled a few local beers and got a little wet. It was very varied weather while we were there ranging from lovely sun shine to snow. Abi and Jacob of course sampled some ice cream - see the photo. There's also one of Grandma and Jacob near the stream and a snowy scene of the mountain top that shows the ski runs.
On the way back to Denver we stopped at Red Rocks; for those who don't know there's a brilliant view of the city and wonderful geology that was formed millions of years ago. An amphitheatre has been cut into the rock - hoping to go and see a band play there at some point.
Had a nice tea out tonight where Jacob took a photo of his own toy camera with Daddy being silly in the back ground, he's really into photography and isn't that bad really!
Allen's sold his Saab, it gets picked up Wednesday, so we're busy trying to find another one. A convertible wasn't going to work in the winter due to the leaking roof. Have been testing driving a few cars but can't decide. Allen, of course, needs to read all the reviews. Probably a good things as I'd just choose by colour!
Hope all's well

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Our Ballerina!

Abi went to her first Ballet and Tap lesson this week. It was just a trial one but she loved it so much we had to sign her up for more lessons. So she is now kitted out with ballet shoes - courtesy of Grandma Melrose, tap shoes and a sweet pink leotard (plus tights for the winter).
I managed to watch a little bit and she took it all very seriously until she saw me and all she then did was wave!
At the moment she's watching TV wearing her ballet shoes, knickers and tiara - what a sight.
Jacob had his eye appointment at the hospital. His prescription has increased again but they said there was an improvement in the turning in so patching seems to be working - hooray. I'm mad though as the glasses we got in Denver were made incorrectly so he's been in the wrong prescription for 3 weeks. Off there this afternoon to give them what for. Asthma clinic tomorrow and maybe allergy testing too, poor boy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Golden Days!

As promised a few photos of our day in Golden. We were going to have a picnic at the park having walked down by the river but it was a little cooler than we thought for. We did pack the picnic but ended up having a very nice brunch in a restaurant by the river. The photos are of Jacob and Abi being bears and all of us enjoying brunch - the Kir Royal wasn't bad. So it's picnic for tea instead. We also managed to pop into the Outlet Mall on the way home. I got some very nice shoes and everyone else got shorts.
Breckenridge next weekend - forcast snow there for tomorrow!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grandma Melrose's 1st Week

Well Grandma Melrose arrived this week so I've had 2 very excited children. They were up at 6.15am on Marion's first morning. Marion, of course, was having a well deserved lay in! I managed to keep them at bay until 7.15 and then they could contain themselves no longer. Jacob has been attached to her ever since, even by passing Mummy and Daddy when it comes to picking him up from school to run to Grandma instead.

Have shown Marion the sites although there's still lots to do. Had a nice wander around Lowry (the area where Jacob and Abi's school is) popping into lots of boutiques that you can't do when you have children in toe. Visited the Denver mint which was very interesting. Do you know that paper money only lasts 22 months in circulation? Abi wasn't that fussed and kept laying on the floor entertaining everyone but Jacob was a very good boy, of course holding Grandma's hand the whole time.

Abi and I visited the zoo with friends we met through Carrie - Melissa with Aiden and Kirk with Cody. We had a lovely time and ended up joining as I think Abi and I will spend the odd afternoon there together.

Yesterday it was 'Golden Years of Lowry'. A weekend celebrating the area with stalls and activities. The local air and space museum was free so we had a good old wander around. Jacob and Abi loved the museum, you could sit in lots of the planes. There was a "train" that took you to the museum. It was very noisy and bumpy and both Marion and I came off with headaches! Luckily the museum was a big hit.

Went to a Brit BBQ last night, good to catch up with some teacher talk and hear some accents from home.

Off on a picnic in Golden today so will post some photos from that later. Photos here are of Grandma and Jacob on the train - notice Jacob's new hair cut. Jacob in a helicopter, Allen and Jacob in a Star Wars fighter plane and Abi at the zoo.

Spoke to Mum and Dad this morning and heard good news - Grandma and Grandad Holwell may be up for a visit in the Spring, I'm very excited at this news although I won't me telling Jacob and Abi just yet as they have no concept of time and they would be asking me everyday until they actually arrive!

Hope all's well with everyone


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

'Labor Day' in Colorado

I know I've spelt Labour wrong but that's how it is here. We went down to Colorado Springs to watch their Balloon festival. Off we went to the evening thing where they light them all up but it was cancelled due to the weather. Apparently it was too windy to lay out the canvases and then, once it had calmed down, it was too dark. However we did get a great view from the hotel window at 7am and then went down and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast. The photo doesn't do it justice (balloons not breakfast!). The other photos are of me and Jacob at the evening glo thing and my three children on our recent trampoline purchase. We bought it on Craigslist, a brilliant web site that I don't think you have in the UK or Page, Arizona! Other things we've been doing recently were attending a work Ball. Very American, I even got my photo taken with a bald eagle in front of the stars and stripes. Also joined a health club and attended their Labor Day BBQ at the outdoor pool. Jacob and Abi entered the splash contest - involving jumping off the diving board. I was very impressed as you wouldn't get me doing that. I would have included those photos but I missed them both times jumping in! Allen's mum arrives tomorrow so everyone is very excited about that. Off to the Denver mint with her this week and also the zoo.
Oh well better go and cook tea
PS Have tried to upload a video clip of the children twice but it won't work. If anyone has any idea how to do it let me know, you'll be amazed at how American they now sound.