Thursday, December 25, 2008
We celebrated early in England with my family. First we went to the Christingle service at Mum's church. Mun, Dad and my sister sang in the choir and Allen read a lesson. It was lovely. Abi fell asleep and I sang all the carols I've missed over the past 3 and a half years! I'm not religious at all but I do like carols. Mum had done a great roast dinner after church and Jacob and Abi had great fun with their cousins Matthew and Amy. There's a photo of them all on a chair together.
Before we knew it we were on the train up to Scotland - after Jacob had an eye appointment (one lenses wrong apparently) and also fitting for more shoe inserts. Didn't get a chance to look in the shops but I did have a lovely meal with my Aunt -Annette. She's a brilliant cook, as are all my family, so I had a nice night with her, Hannah and Joe.
We arrived in Scotland and then went off for an evening with Santa in a local wood. Finn joined Jacob and Abi and I think they were as excited with Finn as they were with Santa! It was a lovely party with a plate of British party food, a walk in the twinkly lit woods, a bouncy castle, Santa and real reindeer followed by pass the parcel and musical bumps.
We then went to another Christingle service, a bit larger than the Holwell affair. I've included photos of a variety of Christmas shots. Abi dressed up in her tiara, make up and Christmas dress plus Jacob and Abi pretending to be deer plus a Christingle shot from the church.
I hope everyone has had a very Happy Christmas and everyone has a Merry New Year.
PS Allen has moaned that I haven't included him enough, he read very well in church and hasn't been that effected by jet lag unlike the rest of the family! Abi slept until 11am which is very unlike her!
Left Denver after a fun 18 months. I wasn't ready to leave at all. We had lots going on in our final week with our last night spent with Mindy, Shawna, Betsy, Tim, Will and Mallory at a local restaurant. I have included a photo of most of the table plus one of just the children. We had a great night. John and Sheri then came to the hotel for drinks after our meal out. We drank too much and I felt crap for travelling the next day.
Arrived safely in DC and met up with Ceri, Owen, Kathryn, Nicholas, Christopher and Claire at a local play place. It was lovely to see them all. We had a nice day with friends including our old neighbour Mary. Flight to the UK was fine. I had no sleep but everyone else had a few hours.
I have found it very strange being back. First I'm quite claustrophobic. It's very damp too so breathing is weird. It is lovely to see the family on both sides. I also had a good night out with old school friends Nicky, Julie and Sally. Everyone looked very slim and it was great to catch up on all the chat.
Next blog is all about Christmas.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
We had an extremely busy weekend just gone. First Jacob and Abi had rehearsals for the Nutcracker. The first one was Friday night 6 to 9pm. This was hard, Allen didn't make it as he was feeling ill and my 2 go to bed by 7pm each night. So by 7.30 we had all had enough! There were too many mice and not enough direction so at 8.30 we just left. The next rehearsal was Saturday 2 to 5pm. Abi had a sleep before we got there and it all went alot better. We sat and watched and the whole thing was pretty good. The mice behaved and did what they were meant to. The photo is of our 2 mice plus Nicole, who is in Jacob's 1st Grade class.
Our neighbours threw a farewell party for us Saturday night. Mindy had made it a black and white theme to stand for the penguins! Kelli had made a lovely penguin cake and Betsy had contributed to the food. Everyone had a great time. Lots to eat, good conversation and well behaved children. I've included a photo of Allen with Betsy and Tim and one of the cake plus all the children on our street.
Sunday, Tim and Betsy kindly invited us to a Broncos game. I'd only seen American Football on the TV and have never managed to watch more than 5 minutes before being completely bored. I wondered if I should take a book or something just in case....but I couldn't have been more wrong. It's much more entertaining when you're there. To start with there are cheerleaders that are always doing something - very entertaining! They also have quite a few fireworks and other bits and pieces going on, let alone people watching and the actual game - which was not bad.
I've included a photo of the big display board and one of the players running out of this big blow up head thing. One of the teenager neighbours looked after Jacob and Abi for the afternoon and we had a good time out. We picked up the children and headed straight out again for dinner. Someone, Ryan, that Allen used to work with here, had invited us around to say farewell. Him and his wife, Risa, are on the move too although they are headed for Boston. It was good to catch up and eat good food too!
So Jacob and Abi had 3 late nights in a row so will be having a week of early to beds! Allen's in Las Vegas for 36 hours. Enough to blow some money I'm sure! I'm meant to be cleaning but am finding lots of other things that are much more interesting to do.
Better go and wipe some wood work!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
We finally had a decent amount of snow in Denver so we went sledging and built a snowman in the front garden - see all the photos.
The snow has now all gone but the mountains had 4 foot fall over the past 3 days so Allen took a day off today and we went skiing without Jacob and Abi. We had a lovely time, I do enjoy going with the children but when it's just us we can go alot faster. We are all going to go in the next couple of days as it will probably be the children's last ski before we leave.
Our neighbours are having a goodbye party on Saturday for us, not looking forward to all the goodbyes. The Nutcracker is only a week away. I will try and take some photos so you can see our 2 little ballerina's!
Only 2 weeks left, gulp!
Friday, November 28, 2008
We had a very enjoyable Thanks Giving yesterday. We started the day with movies for everyone. Allen and I caught up on Heroes and the children watched Curious George and Ice Age. We then tided the house as Allen has invited people around on Friday to try and drink our remaining spirits - can't take them with us unfortunately.
At 2pm we wandered over the road to Ken and Kelli's. There were 16 of us. Kelli had done lots of snacks to start and I ate too many of them! King Prawns and artichoke dip, plus cheese and crackers. We sat down at 4pm to turkey, spice ham, mashed pots, beans, carrots, squash, cranberry dressing, stuffing and salad. It was great and even better that it had all been done for us. Jacob and Abi were very good, I think it was the bribe of chocolate covered pretzels and chocolates for after the meal.
We enjoyed the evening and came back across at about 7pm. I've included photos of Kelli, Sam and Jordyn plus Jacob and Abi of course!
Trying to decide whether to go to the Black Friday sales today, don't really need anything and can't really fit anything in but we do love to shop!
Hope all's well
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Jacob and Abi's school held a friends and Grandparents day yesterday, most schools have this kind of day here. So we invited 2 neighbours due to the Grandparents being in a different country! Kelli and Mindy came. Jacob and Abi were very excited to see them. Kelli did some craft stuff with Abi and then reading and language games with Jacob and Mindy came and had a look around. At the start of the day we weren't sure either could make it so I made Allen come and make a candy turkey with Abi in her room - much to his enjoyment! So the children were well represented and had a lovely day. We finished at lunchtime so I took my 2 plus a friend of Abi's to 50 cent Tuesday at the local cinema. We saw WallE, a very sweet movie, which we all enjoyed.
Allen finishes at lunchtime today so we're off skiing and then it's Thanks Giving tomorrow. Kelli and Ken have invited us so it'll be an easy day with lots of food and wine. May try and ski in the morning but it may be too cold.
Days are flying past and leaving Denver is coming up way too soon for me. Jacob and Abi are ready to see the family though so that's good.
Hope all's well
Monday, November 17, 2008
Jacob and Abi went to a 7th Birthday party at a jungle themed play place. I was very scared and didn't relax for the hour and a half that they were throwing themselves off zip wires and bungee cords. I tried to encourage them into the nice and tame play area but to no avail and they had a great time! I've included a photo of both on ropes. Abi ended up with rope burn on her hand but is now fine.
Allen arrived in the UK fine and will hopefully have a good time. Mainly work but he is meeting up with friends and family too.
Friday, November 14, 2008
We have had our first snow in Denver. Jacob and Abi were ready and outside in record time this morning. Abi wanted to do a snow angel but none had settled on the driveway so she was happy stomping through the snow on the grass. It's not going to last but is nice to see!
Half day at school today, Jacob is off for a playdate with Rylan and I'm having Joost, a boy in Abi's class. So we're off to the Children's museum and everyone is very excited.
Skiing tomorrow and then Allen leaves for the UK on Sunday. He's gone a week but we'll be busy with our normal schedule plus extra ballet for the Nutcracker. Jacob told me ballet is better than soccer!
Had a crown done this morning and got to finish watching the film of Pride and Prejudice - you get to watch a movie while they do the work. Best dentist ever!
Hope all's well
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
It was Jacob's 6th Birthday on Monday and the lucky boy had the day off for Veterans Day. He was up nice and early - 6am and was ready to open his presents straight away. He got a good variety for stuff, his favourite being Lego. Allen had to go into work for a meeting but was back by 10am so we went out to see Madagascar 2. It was excellent, so if you have children or not go and see it. Then it was off to his party. We entertained 23 children at an indoor play place. Everyone had fun and we were ready for a beer afterwards! My neighbour, Betsy, was very helpful and she and her 2 children - Mallory and Will, came round after to watch Jacob open all his presents.
After that we went out to Jacob's favourite restaurant with our other neighbour Shawna. Kev, Allen's replacement from the UK, had landed in time to join us and we all had a good meal.
Got home a tad tired! It was a fun but busy day - aren't they all! I've included a photo of the Medieval Castle cake I made for Jacob. I think I was more impressed than him. Also one of him and Abi at Monkey Biz and Jacob at the restaurant in his new top from Owen and Ceri (DC) plus his '6' badges from Katharine and Kathryn.
Hope all's well
We had a great Fall weekend. Jacob and Abi discovered they could use the leaf blower and had so much fun spreading the leaves around the front garden! We eventually got them into a decent pile so that they could jump in them and bury themselves in the huge pile. I've included 2 photos of they having so much fun. We filled 3 big bins and 3 bin bags and still have the same amount to go and that's only from the front - backyard next weekend I think. Have found a place that will do something environmental with them so I need to go and buy brown paper bags to put them in and deliver them on Sunday.
We also managed to go skiing at Loveland. It was a much more successful trip this time. Abi was much more confident, I didn't feel like pretending she wasn't mine! The snow was much better as they had had more natural snow fall. A big storm went through he mountains yesterday so we're going up again on Saturday to check it out.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
We spent 3 days in LA visiting Disney and California Adventure parks. The next 2 days were spent in San Diego where we went to Sea World and then Lego Land. Sea World, California, is much smaller than Florida. It was very manageable and the children really enjoyed the shows. I've included a photo of an impressive whale stunt. I liked the Florida site better but Jacob and Abi don't remember going there! It was a good day as they let military families in for free.
The next day we spent in Lego Land. I think this was Jacob and Abi's favourite place as it is really suited to 4 and 5 year olds. All the rides were pretty tame and they were both very impressed with the mini Lego cities. I've included a photo of the children with a Darth Vader Lego model and one of Abi and me on a ride.
We will go back to California on holiday when they are both older to experience other things that the state has to offer. We had an excellent holiday and would recommend Disney to everyone.
Hope all's well, packers come Tuesday so we're a bit busy at the moment. Allen is actually waiting for me to finish so he can pack the main computer so I'll be using the laptop from now on.
Well we had a wonderful time in Disney. We started our trip by meeting up with Carrie, Jake and Annie for a hike and picnic at Zion National Park. It was great, as always, to see them and the children had a lovely time. My Jacob was very torn as to going home with Jake or going onto Disney! I've included a photo of 3 of them hanging over the cliff!
Next stop was LA. Off course I didn't realise how big the city was. It took us about an hour from getting to the edge of LA to actually arrive at our hotel. We chose a good location, on a bus route about a mile from the park. We were in the queue to get in at 7.30am and on the rides just after 8am. Sunday was good int he morning but very busy by lunch time. There are photos of Allen and Jacob on the rockets - a favourite, the children in front of an impressive Mickey Pumpkin, all of us at a character breakfast,and Jacob and Abi with Minnie.
Abi's favourite was meeting the princesses, a photo of her and Belle is included and Jacob's highlight was being a Jedi Knight and fighting Darth Vader - see photo. Allen's favourite in Disney was the parade (he took enough photos of it!), my favourite thing was just being there and seeing everyone having such a fun time.
The next blog shows San Diego.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
It was Jacob's last soccer game for the Fall season. He played brilliantly and his team won. We all went for ice cream afterwards. I've included a team photo plus his coach Emily.
Then after lunch we set off to ski. One run was open. It was a bit steep for Abi and, after trying to get her down on her own a ski instructor kindly stopped and helped. I think he realised that I was about to kill her or leave her on the mountain. He was very patient with her and then skied her down to an easier part - where she was fine. Jacob and Allen went up a few times and Jacob was just about back to his parallel turns. Abi and I played in the snow at the bottom. It was a lovely warm day and was fun in the sun and snow. We returned to enjoy pizza and beer with the neighbours next door.
Today is Super Hero party. Jacob's Mr Incredible and Abi's changing her mind all the time. In the photo she's Spiderman but at this moment in time she's Superman. We leave in 10 mins so perhaps she's remain as Superman, who knows!! It's Dylan's, in Abi's class, 5th birthday party. I booked Jacob's party at a big play place. He can actually have it on his birthday - 10th Nov as it's a day off school for them.
Better get to this party.
Hope all's well
Friday, October 17, 2008
Fall has arrived, I've put in a photo of the tree in our front garden that is beautiful at the moment. I like the ghosts on it too that Abi and Jacob made. We're all decorated for Halloween. Abi came down at 3am this week to ask me when Halloween was, perhaps we've put the decorations up too early!!!??
2 ski areas are also open so Allen was tasked with buying lift tickets today. So we're off skiing tomorrow after Jacob's final soccer game - scheduled at 8am! The snow in the resort we are going to is only artificially made by the blowers, although they have had a bit of snow up there. Should be nice and warm to ski.
Busy selling things on Craigslist as we are 13% over. Allen is determined we will get rid of the electric piano, I however am determined we won't so I'm resorting our boxes.
Leave for California next weekend, can't wait to do Disney, Legoland and Sea World. I have booked a character breakfast and I also want to go to the Ariel lunch, Allen's not keen!
Busy clearing the house and creating loads of recycling, can't believe how much stuff we have. Anyway better get back to it. Hope all's well with everyone.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Mum, Dad and me had a night away and decided to go down South to the Royal Gorge and also to visit Pikes Peak. Both locations were worth the drive. The Royal Gorge was impressive and very empty so we managed a cable car ride across, a quick look at the wildlife park, a wonder across the actual bridge and a cage ride down to the bottom of the Gorge, coffee and ice cream all in 2 hours. I didn't get any great photo of this part of the trip unfortunately.
We then stayed in Manituo Springs (Old Colorado Springs) so we could get to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway by 8.30am the next day. We had brilliant seats at the back of the train and I got some good photos. There's one out of the back window showing the steep track and also changing tree colours. There's also one of Mum and Dad looking very cold at the top. It was strange at the summit as it's over 14,000 feet. I felt weird, a bit like a drunk feeling. I ate a Snickers and popcorn and felt better but it was the altitude. Mum and Dad were fine. It surprised me as I ski at altitude without any ill effects.
On the way back to Denver we stopped at Garden of the Gods. Another impressive tourist attraction. There's a photo of Mum and Dad with the 'Garden' behind them. I dropped them at the airport this evening. We had a brilliant time with them here and amazingly we did not fall out once - that's a record for me and Dad. We're all going to miss them, me especially and am looking forward to seeing them in December.
The weather's been brilliant for the past month and we are now due snow at the weekend. Good job really as Jacob has been moaning on about when can he ski again, hopefully that won't be too far away.
Hope all's well
Monday, October 6, 2008
We started the week with a New Year lunch over at Mindy's. She kindly invited Mum and Dad as well so we ate Kosher sit down lunch which was tasty and different. There were around 27 people there and we had a good chat with most of them.
Allen and I then had 2 nights away in Boulder. Mum and Dad were in charge and all just about went well! Dad drove for the first time out here, literally to school and back. He did very well without incidence. We relaxed in Boulder, ate too much and did quite a bit of walking and shopping. On our return we took Mum and Dad out for a posh meal at a restaurant we'd wanted to try for a while. It was excellent and once again Dad had his fill of beef!
Saturday we went to a Fall Festival at a local Historical Park. We went on a stage coach, paned for gold (photo), weaved and picked pumpkins (see photo). It was a good event. Jacob then had his soccer match which they won 11 - 1 so he was happy. Allen's coaching his team on Monday and Jacob's very excited about this.
Saturday afternoon I took Mum and Dad to a Train Museum at Golden. Dad was very impressed and so was I. Loads of huge trains in the grounds and you could climb on most of them. I've included a photo of Mum and me near a caboose and Dad driving another engine.
Went to the local pub for tea with the neighbours Saturday evening and had a relaxing Sunday. Mum, Dad and me are off to Colorado Springs for 2 days to go on the Cog Railway so Allen has the children on his own - first time I think.
Hope all's well
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
As you can see we had a busy week visiting lots of National Parks. We started at Bandelier, just outside Santa Fe New Mexico. This was actually my favourite. It's where the people lived in the caves in the mountain side. There were ladders to climb and small dwellings to explore and we all had a great time. There's a photo of Allen and Jacob in a 'house'. Mum and Dad got on a ranger led tour, Dad thought it was good Mum was a little bored! Their highlight though was Mum nearly treading on a rattle snake and Dad taking a very good photo of it.
Next we drove to Flagstaff and met up with Carrie, Jake and Annie. Dad enjoyed seeing the trains rushing through the station and we enjoyed a beer! I've put a photo of all the children in. We're going to miss Carrie and Co and hope to meet up one more time before we leave America and I also hope they will visit us in the future too.
Next was the Grand Canyon. There's a photo of Mum and Dad near the edge. They then did a helicopter ride over the Canyon and loved it. I chickened out again. The Canyon was as impressive as ever and clearer than when we were there last.
Then we had a night in a Caboose. It was fun to see it and be there but not so great to sleep in! I've included a photo of Jacob and Abi climbing on the roof (not sure they were meant to!) and one of us and the Caboose. From Williams, where the Caboose hotel was, we drove via the Petrified Forest National Park. I would have liked more time here as we didn't get to see it all. Actually I'd say that about all the parks we went to so we'll be here at some point in the future to do more exploring. There's a photo of Petrified wood - like stone really.
Next it was a 3 night stay in Durango. We rented a house. Mum and Dad went on a days trip to Silverton on the Steam train. They enjoyed it all. On mum's birthday we went to Mesa Verde, another dwellings in the rock National Park. It was good to see but I preferred Bandelier. I've included a photo of our birthday breakfast.
Finally we drove back and stopped at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I was most impressed as it's loads of sand that seems to have been dumped right by the mountains. The sand was a bit hot but Jacob and Abi still managed lots of rolling around and had a wonderful time. I've put in a photo of the dunes too.
So all in all we travelled over 2000 miles in a week. There's still so much we haven't explored here, the country is so vast and has such different landscapes. I will look forward to taking holidays here in the future to show Jacob and Abi it all over again!
Hope all's well