Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Birthday Recaps

The last day of 2012!  Let's end the year by recapping the birthdays that happened at our house in the last year.  At least the kids'.

October 12--Riley hit the magical teenager milestone.  And she's such a beautiful teenager.  Her birthday was extra special since she was able to celebrate with her Grandma AND go to Paris!  It's a tough life for her.

November 17--Lucy turned 6.  What is happening to our baby?  She had a small birthday party with a few friends, and she was the lucky one to break open the piñata.

December 4--Our precious Mary Beth turned 11.  This girl is such a gift to us.  We celebrated with a sewing slumber party (each girl made her own pillowcase) and another piñata!

December 12--Cory turned 9 and immediately began counting down the days until he turns 10.  Slow down, little boy!  Cory's hero was TDY the week of his birthday, so we celebrated big with a bowling party for him and some friends.  STRIKE!

Can't stop them from growing up--no amount of begging and pleading will stop it.
this picture taken on Lucy's 4th birthday

this picture taken July 4th 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

London--departure day

Our weekend in London was coming to an end, but we had a few hours on the last morning to geocache!!  We were hoping to leave a travel bug here, but we couldn't find any nearby caches that weren't micros.

We headed to one that looked to be in a neighborhood park.  As we walked there we saw these signs posted on area businesses.

Great!  We're looking for the cache while folks are cleaning out debris and planting bulbs for the spring.  How will we manage to be stealthy?  How will we not look odd and out of place?  Eventually we just told a couple of the folks what we were doing.  They even let our kids plant some of the bulbs!

And we found the cache!

It was a gross, wet morning, but we remained undeterred and went for a second cache.  This one was across the river from our apartment.
Our apartment building complex from across the river.  

The MI6 building (made famous by 007 James Bond) that was also across the street from the river (and across the street from our apartment).  The cache we found was in reference to this.

A third cache remained unfound for us and we had to call off the search to head back for a bite to eat before making our way to the airport.

A great visit to London.  But I must admit, that if these notices hadn't been painted on the streets at the crosswalks I'm sure we would have been hit by a car.

And lastly, while walking around London I made it my personal goal to find the letters of our last name in architecture.  Here they are:

And then I found Lucy's name!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Break from our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Here are the videos from the girls' recent dance recital.  Enjoy.

Lucy tapped with two other tap classes to Step In Time from Mary Poppins.

The older two girls performed as little girls in the beginning scenes of The Nutcracker.  And look!  A recital costume they can actually wear again!   Awesome.  Mary will be difficult to spot a lot of the time, because she was in the back.  Riley is in a red dress with a little black shrug type jacket and Mary is wearing a red and white dress with a red sweater.  

Then, a costume change transformed them into Rats with Riley as the Rat King.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

London, Day 3...Trying to Wrap This Baby Up!

Another fun day in London--maybe a highlight for the kids because this was the day we went to the London Eye.  But not before stoping first at The Imperial War Museum.

This had been advertised on AFN (our TV "cable" here).  Until you've experienced AFN commercials you really haven't lived.  But I digress.  As we looked at the map it appeared that we could walk from our apartment to the Museum on the way to the London Eye.  Cory REALLY wanted to go here based on the advertisements.

It was a bust--a couple of planes and vehicles in the main area.  A room highlighting their Secret Spy agencies, a room highlighting the life of a family through WWII, and a room that had subject matter that was too mature for our audience--crimes against humanity type stuff.  The rooms were interesting, don't get me wrong, but the overall museum-ness was not what Cory had hoped for.  (Though the giant cannons outside had been promising!)

Okay, onto the London Eye!  It was a great day for enjoying London from this vantage point.

Got our tickets, got in line, got in our capsule for the half hour ride around.  The kids were stoked!

Look kids!  Big Ben, Parliament!  (It never got old--well, at least not to Ted and me)

We took a river cruise from here back towards the Tower of London and enjoyed some more great views.

Once here, Cory donned his souvenir--a Henry VIII style hat.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...
Here's where things got a little off track for us.  We had hoped to use our Hop On Hop Off Bus plan to get towards Shakespeare's Globe Theater and eventually to Hyde Park.  Unfortunately for us, there was some sort of rerouting due to traffic issues, and our detour took us way longer than expected.  We stopped at Buckingham Palace as planned, but by that time we were all a little worn out.

So we decided to head to the shopping district, because we are predominately girls, and we're never too tired to shop!  London was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

To placate our tortured, toured-out kids we walked into Hamley's, London's mega toy store.  Good gravy!  This place was huge and PACKED--all four floors!!!!!!  But, we found the floor with Legos!  And the life-sized Lego structures did not disappoint!

Photos are not allowed of the crown jewels, but we were able to sneak one past the guards.  Well, alright, these are really the Lego crown jewels...

Lucy had asked all weekend if she would get to see the queen.  Looks like the answer is yes!

 Give the royal wave everyone!