Sunday, May 27, 2012

A busy little girl...

Keali has had a very busy week. First, she had a friend stay overnight for her first sleep over. Izzy and Keali had a blast! They stayed up so late that they got weepy just before they passed out. But the girls were very behaved and super sweet.

But perhaps even bigger, yesterday,Keali learned how to ride her bike!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Garrisons hit London

A couple of our good friends from Houston visited us over the last weekend. Tanya and Darin are our neighbors in Texas and it was fun to see some friendly Texan faces.

We had a big time exploring bits of London that we hadn't yet seen. We hit the Winston Churchill War Rooms museum for a start. Those of you who know me very well know that history isn't my first love. Or second. Or really any part of like. Much more into science and maths, I feel anything that happened before about 1950 seems too long ago to worry much about. (Yes, I know the adage about history repeating itself, but it doesn't remove the boredom associated with knowing about it.)

The War rooms were actually fairly interesting. Even for me. That says something, folks.

We took a little hop-on, hop-off bus in order to score some good pictures for another friend's from Houston Flat Stanley project. Additionally that weekend, we were able to make it to another rugby game at the local fields.

The highlight of the weekend (aside from the company) was the day trip we took to Stonehenge and Bath. Stonehenge is believed to have been constructed before 1500 BC. The older it is to me, the less time/attention I have for it. So we walked out to see it, snapped a picture, and then waited for Tanya and Darin to finish up. It was unseasonly cold and rainy so Scott was happy to wait in the car with me!

We then drove on to Bath where we walked around the very old and beautiful town. The Abbey church was a beautiful building, but the center part of the town was the Roman Baths. The baths are built around a naturally forming hot springs. The water is at a constant 35 degrees Celsius. It really was amazing how something so elaborate could have been built so long ago. The Romans even used the heat from the water rising up to heat the rooms of the structures. Even for this low-level history interest, it was something to be seen. The cold beer at the pub when we finished was equally entertaining.

Tanya and Darin went on to tour Scotland and will be returning to Texas tomorrow. We wish them safe travels!

UPDATE: Just as I was about to post this - I realized that somehow I managed to exclude the true best part of their visit! On Saturday afternoon, we set out to go to St Paul's Cathedral. Perhaps not surprisingly, we were distracted with a quick stop at a very cool old pub. This lead us to abort the plan to go to St Paul's and instead do a pub crawl in order to get a free t-shirt. We are still missing one pub stop which Scott and I will "force" ourselves to go to, so that we can send Darin his t-shirt!

The video highlights:

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Hoopers go manor-style

We had a three day bank weekend, so we decided to head to the country. After many hours of searching the internet for pseudo-nearby castles, we finally settled on going towards Bath/Bristol area to Bradford-Upon-Avon. There was a "family friendly" manor house hotel.

The house was beautiful and huge! But the thing that most impressed me was the "family friendly" hotel part. The Brits know how to do family friendly! There was an indoor pool which the kids loved (an outdoor one too but it was tooooo cold), a trampoline, two or three fields for football and cricket, two different kids clubs rooms with toys and games, two different playgrounds, kids menus, and even a dog and a hamster on property.

We explored some of the area around the house/hotel as well. Bradford is a quaint little English town with some beautiful and stereotypical buildings. We had a great and relaxing weekend for all four of us.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life goes on...

We are happy to report that our sweet friend in Italy who was going to move in with us is recovering. She is out of intensive care and into the specialty unit. Her life goes on fortunately. She still has some dangers associated with her illness, but she is recovering, which is in and of itself quite a milestone.

For the time being, we have a super fun, very cool Brazilian au pair living with us. She will only be here until the end of June when she will go off on her next adventure. So come the end of June, we will welcome a new girl in to our family and home.

For now, the kids are happy and so are we. It's always an adventure with the Hoopers!