Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Potted Potter

We went to see Potted Potter in Bury St. Edmunds today.  It is these two guys, Dan and Jeff, who condense all the Harry Potter books into 70 minutes.  It was loads of fun.  They are very comical and we laughed through the entire thing. At one point, they play Quidditch with the audience. They split us up between two teams, Gryffindor and Slytherin, of course.  And then they pick people from the audience to be the Seekers and guess who was the Gryffindor seeker? Our own little Bucko! And he was hilarious!  He's made for the stage. He's always cracking people up, so it was perfect. (And I may be a bit partial!) And funny enough, our neighbor and friend was chosen as the Slytherin seeker!  So I had to dig out my camera, even though I'm sure I was allowed to take pictures, and snapped a few. They didn't turn out the greatest b/c I kept the flash off, but you can get the general idea.
My kids have been quoting it ever since.....One of you shall LIIIVE, and one of you shall die.......Where's my good wizard?  Grrrrrr...........I'm Ron Weasley, I'm da bomb---pwhowww, I'm on fire----sssssszzz, I'm wicked---cuz I'm defying gravity (singing the song).  Such fun! (There are a bunch of youtube videos if you want to see part of the show.  Good times.)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Alnwick Castle

So I bought our tickets online and paid for parking online as well, but when we arrived in the town of Alnwick there was some construction going on and we couldn't find where we were supposed to park. Not a big deal, right? Well, Goofy had drank hot chocolate at breakfast and then a CapriSun in the car. He had to use the loo SO bad!  We tried to get him to go in the trees, but he just refuses.  We finally get to the right parking area and I take him and run for the entrance.  He has to go so bad though, he can't run, so I have to pick him up and carry him. Yeah, not so good for my recovering arm, but we get to the toilets and see a LONG line in the ladies room.  I'm thinking "No way!" I glance over at the men's and of course no one is there, but there is no way I can send a three-year-old in there by himself. Then, hallelujah, the handicapped toilet becomes available and we made it!  What a relief! 
Then we head into the Alnwick Gardens which is a really neat garden with loads of water displays.  We had fun running up the steps to the top and discovering different sprinklers.  The kids liked the front loaders, but it was a scramble to get ahold of one.
After the gardens, we headed over to the castle.  It was pretty. The kids were just so excited to see "Hogwarts."  And it was a bit surreal to stand in the field where Harry, Ron, and Hermione learned to fly on their broomsticks, to see the statues at the top of the castle and find the one the bludger went through when Harry was learning about quidditch, and to try to find where Neville must have gotten caught and fallen.  We saw a little "show" with Hagrid and Dumbledore.  Funny.  The best part for me was the pork sandwich we got at lunch. Oh my--sooo delicious!  They put stuffing and applesauce on it--yum!  Tink did end up getting a broomstick. Bucko got Voldemort's wand. Minnie got a necklace, and Goofy bought a sword.  He loves it too!  He kept holding it the whole way home and saying, "I wuv my sword" and then he would hug it and kiss it.  He did carry it around the castle and would pull it out of his belt loop and look like he would slash anyone who got in his way.  Too cute. 
We were only an hour from the Scotland border, so we had to drive up there.  We just stopped at the border for some pictures and then up to a town on the sea.  It was pretty and the kids loved chasing the waves, or rather, running from them.
We did enjoy our trip, though it was a bit bittersweet to think it was our last trip while living in the UK.  Who knows if we'll ever make it back, but we have definitely enjoyed it while we have lived here and look forward to the next adventure.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Woolsthorpe Manor

On our way up to Alnwick (pronounced Ann-ick) Castle, we stopped at Isaac Newton's house, Woolsthorpe Manor.  It was very neat to see THE apple tree from which he sat under and watched the apples fall, contemplating the world and in the end, explained gravity.  They had a short film about his life and all. Inside the house, we went into his bedroom and we saw his makeshift "office" with no windows so he could have complete darkness and study the properties of life. We saw his telescope and other scientific instruments.  The kids enjoyed the house because they had hid a mouse in every room.  In the kitchen, they had even placed a stuffed rat which they thought was great fun!  They also enjoyed the hands-on activities with magnets and geometry.  We bought Tink and Bucko some magnets in the gift shop which everyone has enjoyed playing with.  We tried to convince Goofy and Minnie that they would want some too, but they were decidedly against it, so Minnie got a baby chick toy and Goofy a pull back wooden mouse.  They were happy, but later admitted that they would have liked to have their own magnets, since they are always asking Tink and Bucko if they can play with theirs. C'est la vie!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Proud Parent Moment

The other morning as I was doing the dishes and other normal morning things, I noticed Tink, Goofy, and Minnie were also running around with seeming intent. I go in to check and see what they are up to and I find this:
So, ok, you may think, they are playing a game, right? Well, yes, but not just any game. Tink has made up a game for chores! Yes, chores!  It's a memory game, so when they match up a chore (think 2 "make bed" pieces) then they run off and do that chore. They had so much fun and I was so impressed with her creativity and gumption to just do it and get her little brother and sister excited about it as well!  It was a proud moment as a mom.  What great kids!

Sunday, 10 July 2011


It finally happened. I had surgery on Thursday, July 7.  PC took the day off from work and drove me down to Cambridge. I went under general anesthesia and they cut open the back of my elbow to perform a cubital tunnel release.  They said all went well. Obviously, I don't remember anything of it.  I checked out around 1pm and we made our way home.  PC has been a huge help.  My arm hurts, as I knew it would, but more than that, I am wiped out. Just taking a bath and getting dressed in the morning wears me out.  This morning Goofy sat on my arm and I thought it was going to rip apart.  Yesterday, I took a 3 hour nap after helping a bit around the house and getting dressed.  My left hand is getting trained to brush my teeth, put on deodorant and makeup, and do all the necessary things that my right hand is used to doing.  I have to keep this bandage on for 9 more days, so I'm sure I'll get better as each day passes.  The first day I had it in a sling, but I don't have to wear that anymore thankfully. So here is a picture I took with the webcam so you can see how big the bandage is.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!  We scrambled to get ready this morning as we convinced the kids to go down the road to start off the celebrations with a 5-K Fun Run/Walk.  It was hot and the kids got worn out.  We only did half of it because they were so tired and hot. PC ran the whole thing and even placed 3rd with a time of 21 minutes!  He amazes me!  I pushed Goofy and Minnie in the jogging stroller, but they ran/walked most of it, which was good because my wrist was hurting and the race was on grass which made it a lot harder to push anyway.  So we had a good start to the day.
Then we came home, showered, and got ready for a bbq with our neighbors/friends 3 doors down.  I made this yummy red, white, and blue pie from Pampered Chef. SO good!!
We headed down to where they had all the carnival rides and let the kids ride a few before PC and Tink had to leave for London. They did a trip down to see Wicked today. Tink has been SO excited to see it!  I'm sure they are loving it even as I'm typing this.  We all rode the bumper cars, which was by far our favorite!
Bucko, Minnie, Goofy, and I relaxed in the afternoon by watching a movie and reading.  We saw the RAF Red Arrows air show from the backyard.  (Goofy had fallen asleep on the couch during the movie and he is still asleep as I write this at 9:15 pm.)  It was AWESOME!! So cool!  They did a great job.
Now, I'm just waiting for the fireworks to start in a bit while the kids are out playing with some friends.  It was a good day.  Some of us Americans refer to Independence Day here as "No Hard Feelings Day." It is always interesting to think of that relationship, but I think "no hard feelings" sums it up pretty good. The US and the UK shouldn't have any hard feelings now. We've come a long way and back each other up. What's in the past is past. But I am grateful for those men and women who fought for our freedom.  And for the ones who continue to do so.