christmas in nottingham (II)

Our first night at Aurelie’s went fairly well, except for the one child chatting away until all hours, and another who woke up at four a.m., crying because he had to poop (I was worried he would wake everyone else, which I’m sure he did). Other than that, it was all fine and dandy. Because the au pair had gone home for the holidays, we were able to sleep in her room (Raspberry crashed with the kids), rather than on the fold-out couch we slept on when we visited in November. Her room is cozy and sparsely decorated. It offered a nice respite from the madness that is four children. Ares actually touched the cacti repeatedly and didn’t seem bothered by the spines.

There was a tree-shaped pandoro set out for breakfast! We’d previously had the discussion about whether sweet foods like cake were appropriate for breakfast. Lucas is and has always been firmly in the no camp, believing that such delicacies should not be consumed prior to noon. Meanwhile, I was occasionally fed chocolate digestive biscuits, birthday cake and tiramisu for breakfast while growing up. As an adult, I have no qualms about having anything sweet or involving chocolate for breakfast.

The kids got chocolate coins with their panettone.

In our time there, Ares rearranged the decorations on the tree more than once.

Raspberry made Neo a drawing of a cowboy.

Aurelie has a thing for matryoshka dolls.

Loolapop got a date stamp (how cool is that?!) for Christmas and set about making tickets for everyone for the park. No ticket, no entry. I lost my ticket and Lucas gave me his.

On our way to the Woodthorpe Park, we saw the requisite Christmas decorations, some more restrained than others.

The park was beautiful. It made me wish we still had a nice park close to us, rather than one littered with broken glass and dog shit (Everton Park, I’m looking at you). Ugh. Anyway! The park was busier than I expected. I suppose I thought that on Christmas day, people would be at home lounging with their families (ha!). But it was a beautifully sunny morning and everyone had taken their dogs and kids out for their daily airing. We scoffed at all the kids on their Christmas bikes, some of them still in their pajamas.

Loolapop stamped a ticket for a million days in advance.

I thought the orange metal swings were just a Liverpool thing, but I guess not. Not that I’m sitting in them, but man, I miss the black rubber swings from back home.

A leaf fight. That is all.

Raspberry kept going after Aurelie with the leaves.

Raspberry doesn’t normally pose for pictures like this, so I thought it was weird that she did. I didn’t even ask her to. And I’m not sure why there’s a half-train coming out of a wall. There was a sign but I was too cold to bother reading it.

Someone lopped the tops off these trees.

Ares puts everything in his mouth, pelvises included.

Neo got The Tale of Peter Rabbit for Christmas. Raspberry got a magnifying glass.

Ares still really liked the leftover rosemary bread from the night before.

Loolapop crocheted a bracelet for me while Raspberry wanted Aurelie to teach her how to knit. Raspberry’s knitting was short-lived (I think she knitted barely five centimetres), but she’s convinced it’s “really easy” and she can show me how. Right.

We spent the afternoon playing board games — Bananagrams, Rummy-Q (Rummikub) and Labyrinth. I’d played Bananagrams before at Aurelie’s on her birthday but not the other two. I really enjoyed all of them though. Raspberry wasn’t quite able to make too many words in Bananagrams and Lucas had to help her out in Rummy-Q (I was going to, but Ares woke up), but she easily got the hang of Labyrinth, so much so that she wanted to play the next day. Aurelie was cursed with some bad luck playing Labyrinth and twice told Lucas he could go to hell.

Ares really liked the lid of this basket. Also fun for him was all the thread in there.

Loolapop wanted to embroider something for Ares.

Best napkin rings ever.

Neo and Ares has a great time playing a give-and-take game. Neo would hold out his hand and Ares would give him whatever he was holding. Lather, rinse, repeat. They also played a rousing game of Fetch with Christmas baubles, much to Aurelie’s annoyance.

Ares had potatoes for dinner.

And we had a delicious tomato pie…

…with chocolate cake for dessert.

Ares didn’t go to sleep until ten p.m. Lucas sat with him in bed, illuminated by Christmas lights, as he played with the ball-and-cup Raspberry got for Christmas. He figured out how to put the ball in the cup, take it out and do it all over again. Lucas commented how it’s a perfect toy for him, since the ball is attached so we needn’t chase it everywhere. When Ares was finally tired enough to allow himself to be nursed to sleep, I fell asleep in the most awkward position with my head and neck propped up against the wall. Needless to say, I awoke later with a sore neck. More on our Christmas to come.

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