Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Charlie's Birthday Party

On the day after Christmas, we invited nearly twenty guests from Mount Vernon (and surrounding areas) to Charlie's first birthday party.  Charlotte decided to wear a birthday sash so everyone would know who the birthday girl was:

pictured with her new favourite toys:  cow and camel

Jason made a lovely selection of tea sandwiches and we all drank tea from vintage tea cups.  In an attempt to make things look less Christmasy, I wrapped the Christmas tree up in crepe paper.  I think it is a new birthday tradition:  the Charlie Tree.

The Charlie Tree

We crammed my sister's house full of guests:

my dad, "Dadada"

old friends

The newest addition to the Abbott clan!

Molly and my dad's 96-year-old "girl friend", Marie.
Danny, my sis and Berb

part of the crowd listening to Aunty Katie tell a riveting story

After lots of tea drinking and sandwich eating, we all headed to the kitchen to watch Charlie smash up her smash cake.  Jason made a special UK version for Charlie to destroy:

But, Charlie was too much of a little lady to do much more than poke at it:

It was less of a "smash cake" and more of a "poke cake."  (Note, that most of the frosting missing was from Jason and me!)

She eventually did a bit more cake smashing when we gave her a pretty pink cupcake.  She even ate a little bit of it!

After cake and presents, we did a whole slew of videos for The Marmite Project, so stay posted for those.  (My sister's video was especially amazing . . . )  

All in all, it was a great day!  

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Happy First Birthday Charlotte!

Dear Charlotte,

Today we celebrated your first birthday.  You were happy and charming all day long (despite waking up at 4:30 and barely napping all day!) and you had a great time at your party!  

Your dad and I are so happy to have you in our lives. You bring us so much joy and make us laugh all the time.  You are smart and clever and we love that we get to watch you learn and grow every day.  

With love, joy and excitement about the future,

Mama and Papi

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Charlie and I are on our way to the States!  I've set this to publish during our flight, so you can imagine us somewhere over the arctic, having a tea (me), being a good baby (Charlotte) and excitedly anticipating our reunion with Bethie, as well as with family and friends.

It's hard to believe that Charlie and I haven't been away from Greater London (aside from a brief-but-wonderful visit to Paris with my lovely bride) since we arrived here almost nine months ago.  When she became a UK resident, Charlie wasn't much older than this:

(finally, fulfilment of an old promise)

 We've had a good few weeks together, enjoying our first December in London.  

There's something magical about big cities at Christmas, and London is no exception.  It's lovely here.  

Even if it is a bit chilly at times.

And next year we may celebrate the day itself here, all three of us together.

But for now, we've packed our bags and are headed on holiday.  Take a look at this kid: she put the box of formula in the empty suitcase while I wasn't looking.  Charlie has her priorities....

And right now, at 35,000 feet, I'm hopefully with a Charlie who's less like this:

And more like this:

 See you soon, America!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Southbank Christmas Market

Last Thursday, Charlie and I made a brief excursion to the Christmas market being held at Southbank Centre.  Christmas markets are a big deal in Europe, but it's more of a continental thing, and as best as I know, properly German.  "Christmas market" always makes me think of the scene that is supposed to be at the base of Piz Gloria, Switzerland, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  I think that's the finest Bond movie I've seen, if not the finest Bond.  But I digress.

London has a Christmas market offering near the Southbank Centre.  The Southbank Centre itself is a set of monstrous concrete blocks designed for concerts.  They're fine concert halls, but were constructed at an unfortunate point in the history of architecture.  Again, I digress.

Here are some photos of our visit.  Beautiful views from just across the Lambeth Bridge:

Here's a frozen child on the river walk.

The Eye is impressive and, in my opinion, worth the price of admission.  That's saying a lot, given the price of admission.  Bethie and I went back in 2009.  

The market was quiet due to it being a weekday.  And due to it being really cold.

The cold couldn't keep the Easter Bunny away.

There were roasted chestnuts, which were also less expensive than Paris, but more than Oxford Street.  I wish I could have the space in my brain that's storing this information for something else.

Severed heads make it feel more like a German village.

Crepes make it feel like a French village.

Charlie didn't get a lot out of the experience except for frostbite.  Not really any baby-friendly things to do there.  I wanted to take her on the carousel, but it looked like it may be too fast and may cause me her to be nauseous.

Truth be told, there wasn't really much to the market.  The company was nice, though, and the pleasure of returning to our warm flat made the outing worthwhile.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Best Neighbor Ever

The sister of a Seraphic Fire member invited us all over for a barbecue in her beautiful condo.  She made all sorts of wonderful food, but for the main event, she brought in a Sabrett cart and parked it in her driveway.  It was pretty amazing:  

The cart belongs to her retired neighbour who donates a lot of the proceeds from the cart to charity.  How sweet is that?!

This guy might just win the award for best neighbour ever.  Seriously.  Can you imagine having this cart right next door?!  I think I would weigh an extra 100 pounds if this guy lived next door to me.  I love me some hot dogs with sauerkraut!

PS:  Please consider donating to help Seraphic Fire members raise 31K by December 31st!  Even $5 or $10 would help!!

Support the Arts!!

Dear Friends,

I am helping Seraphic Fire raise 31K by December 31st.  My personal goal is to raise $500.  Thanks to six supportive friends I've already raised $140, but I need $360 more.  Even a donation of $5 or $10 would help me reach my goal!  Please consider supporting the arts!!

More info can be found by following the link to my pledge page:

I truly appreciate your support!!



Friday, 16 December 2011

More first step pics

I'm such a proud mama; I can't get enough of these pics of Charlie's first steps!  In reviewing my 50+ screenshots that I took, I realised that I somehow failed to post any pictures of Charlie looking at me while taking her first steps.  That was one of the most amazing parts of the whole experience.  She could see me and I could see her.  It was SO AWESOME!

So, even though I totally didn't think we needed an iPad, I was able to see my daughter take her first steps because of it.  That makes it worth its weight in gold.  (Which, coincidentally, is about how much it costs . . . )  I was also able to get a good view of Charlotte crawling over Jason in the middle of our conversation.  It went something like this:

I love technology!

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