Holiday Update

Ah, I am stuffed full of fish'n'chips at the moment, basking in fried excellence. Things have been well here, including the fact that Father Christmas must have made two trips to our house to deliver the TON of presents.

Friday, we went on a Christmas-themed train with my in-laws (Trevor, Linda, and Trevor's mum, who Ilsa has named Granny). The ride was probably only about twenty minutes each direction on a genuine steam locomotive, but Father Christmas came around with very cool gifts for all the kids. Not cheap-o trinkets, but actual toys. Nice. Saturday, we... hung out? I don't remember now. Days are a blur of random holiday gluttony, sloth, and zen-like peacefulness (Zen thinking is essential when navigating the opinions and preferences of nine adults).

Trevor drove to London first thing Christmas morning to fetch Steve (Keven's brother), his long-time girlfriend Silvia, and her parents, who came over from Italy for their first Christmas in England. Maria and Paolo speak no English, so Silvia has been whisked between rooms quite frequently to serve as designated translator. I've been hanging in there, applying rudimentary Spanish to the problem -- it helps a little. Paolo taught me the Italian ABCs and numbers to ten, while I've picked up random words for eat, stop, bathroom, your turn (we've been playing dominoes), none, good, bad, Merry Christmas, and pretty little girls. I'll have to check Maria's bags when she leaves; she's getting a real kick out of the kids, even mentioning last night that Silvia and I are the same age -- so why doesn't sivvy have children yet??

Christmas presents abound. Figure that we have nine adults and two kids stuffed into this house, along with all the clothes, bedding, and supplies needed for their two-night stay, PLUS all of the gifts everyone received. We're constantly stepping over junk! I will be impressed if we manage to get all of this home with us! I'm not going to catalogue all of the gifts the girls received. It's just... overwhelming. Luckily, they scored a good variety of hands-on, play-by-themselves toys (My Little Pony, Little People, and Playmobile), as well as quiet time games like little kid dominoes and matching cards, ready to sustain us through the winter.

Yesterday, we all took the girls to a park, fed ducks, played on equipment, and generally enjoyed a great, restful outdoor experience after all of the cramped hours indoors. Juliette has a cold, so she has had a difficult time sleeping, but luckily the jet lag has worn off for the most part. They have been going to sleep around 8:30pm and waking about 8:30am. Any shorter stay and adjusting them to local time wouldn't have been worth it.

Today, Trevor took the Italians into Guildford for sightseeing, while we stayed behind for the aforementioned fish. Tasty! I think they return to London this evening. We'll be traveling that way on Friday to spend the day at the Natural History Museum and then again on New Year's Eve when Keven and I will ditch the kids with their grandparents to spend the night partying with Steve & Sivvy. If we're lucky, maybe Keven and I can sneak away tonight to see Casino Royale.

(And I've done three handwritten pages a day for Will Scarlet, roughly. I'm curious to know how many words that is, but that'll have to wait until I return. I don't like seeing my progress meter stuck when I've got so much finished here!)

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