Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back to the City (Sans Laura)

We took advantage of Aunt Sara's and Grammy's generosity and left Laura with them for another outing to London. Navigating without her little legs was gloriously liberating!

After a great visit to the Victoria & Albert (we ladies loved the wedding dress exhibit), we wound our way to a terrific pub Tim had scouted out for us. Tasty, and fun company!

The three amigas, as we strolled toward Harrods (or Harold's, according to Clare).

The kids are definitely taking the Tube in stride now.

Another great day in Great Britain!

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Windsor Castle

All 11 of us ventured out to Windsor Castle, and it was a great outing. Before heading to the castle itself, we stopped for a delicious Indian lunch. It was the first Indian meal for the Seymour kids, and both Clare and Danny genuinely enjoyed it - one of those moments where I gave silent thanks for how far we've come on the food front!

As we wound our way through hallways adorned with weapons, Danny asked if he could live there - a definite win with him!

Enjoying an excellent vantage point.

A royal sunset.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sights in the City

We hopped on the train and headed into London to visit the British Museum...along with a few other people. We got our fill, found our way to Chipotle, and then made our way to some iconic sights.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Harry Potter Studios

Thanks to Fun Aunt Sara, Grammy and Grampy, we took off sans Laura and explored The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studios. It was incredible. ALL of the sets, props, etc. from the movies - definitely put us in the Harry Potter mood!

Danny was particularly in his glory, starting with the honor of opening the doors into the set of the dining hall!


The Knight Bus

Spectacular model of Hogwarts.

A magical day (har har).

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Location:Copsem Lane,Esher,United Kingdom

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Day 2014

It was a lovely, lovely Christmas Day...once it got started. Children had to be roused, and even then Laura grumpily rolled over and pronounced herself too tired to go see what Santa brought.

Eventually, however, she changed her tune and the gifting began! I believe everyone was pleased with their results, too.

After a relaxing day around the house, we enjoyed yet another feast complete with Christmas crackers.

As Danny wrote with his new sword pen from the Tower of London, "Best Christmas Ever!"
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Eve, U.K. Edition

After our nostalgia outing in the city, we returned to Esher and shifted gears into Christmas Eve mode. We walked to evening mass in Claygate, then headed back for our traditional fried shrimp feast (after the obligatory photo session).

After dinner, we were treated to piano carols, then it was time to place Baby Jesus in the manger:

After a special drink involving - gasp! - wine, everyone put out their Grammy-crafted stocking:

Finally everyone was off to bed!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nostalgia Tour

Tim and I were eager to revisit our old ND London Programme haunts. Not sure how excited our offspring were to join us, but they gamely set out with us and we had a delightful day.

We started at the flats, after exiting from the Queensway tube stop. (Clare continued to wax poetic about this mode of transport.) They looked more or less the same, and the same Middle Eastern restaurants wafted down the street.

We made that quick, then headed down the road to Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park for football throwing. We left that to the boys while we wandered towards the fountains and stumbled upon a playground. Not exactly the same park experience as my college days, but perfect for the company, especially as it was a beautiful day.

From the park we headed back to the tube to visit the old school building, which was not far from Piccadilly Circus - and Hatchard's, my all-time favorite bookstore.

Our final stop was a big let-down for Tim, sadly. De Hems was open, but they did not have enough seating available, and the day's menu was limited to Dutch snacks that were not going to fly with our trio. We will work hard to return!

The outing brought back a lot of memories of a very special time in our lives.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tower of London

First and foremost on Danny's sightseeing list for London was the Tower, specifically the White Tower. After a day's delay due to some major jet lag, we set out for the city. I was concerned it might not live up to Danny's high expectations, but I need not have worried. He reveled in it, soaking up every element.

Clare enjoyed it, too, but I do believe the Tube might have been the highlight for her!

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Location:Copsem Lane,Esher,United Kingdom

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Laura the Snowman

I could not have been more delighted when I unwrapped this gem from Laura's preschool teachers. It is perfection in its cuteness - not to mention its similarity to my favorite birthday cake to date!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fa La La La Laura

For months now, we have grown accustomed to Laura singing, very loudly, in her bedroom (sometimes at 3 a.m.) and in the car. What she occasionally lacks in pitch, she more than makes up for in volume. Taylor Swift, Clean Bandit, Meghan Trainor - and of course, "Let It Go."

The past few weeks, she has not been shy about singing the songs from her preschool Christmas concert. She was thrilled to be able to wear her Christmas dress to this affair, and definitely seemed excited to participate.

Nevertheless, I was prepared for the weirdness that often ensues when parents attend school and/or a performance is involved. But my fears were unfounded: Laura smiled broadly and sang loudly and proudly.

I chuckled to myself when her teacher told me afterward that not only did Laura sing loudly at practice, but clearly felt the competitive juices kick in when she overheard the other 3-year-old class's loudest singer practicing!

Not surprisingly, Laura later remarked, "I'm too tired from all that singing!"

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Our First Byrnwyck Tree

Since we won't be together for Christmas, we opted to capitalize on Donna and Larry's presence for Thanksgiving and inflicted our tree-trimming traditions on them. After our usual attempt to badger Tim into a REALLY big tree, we found a good (enough) one at THD. And so far, I think it may be our most fragrant one ever (probably due to the sizable crack in the trunk...hoping that doesn't come back to haunt us).

Abby joined us for the traditional bagels and tree purchase, which is fitting because she does feel like part of our family.

We came home and began decking the halls. Tim outdid himself with the exterior lights (we have yet to take a good picture of them, however). And then it was time for the feast and tree-trimming to begin!
Laura finally agreed to wear a hat for ONE picture...
Danny LOVES his elf hat.
 After the tree was finished, Grandma and Grandpa presented the grandkids with their Christmas presents: British pounds to buy generous souvenirs on our upcoming trip! And books for all three of them. These were a very big hit.
While food overload from Thanksgiving may have dampened our enthusiasm for the traditional feast just a tad, this was a lovely way to end a marvelous holiday.