Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas! 2007

Merry Christmas to you all with a bright and cheerful call
Merry Christmas to you all with a bright and cheerful call
High Ho, let it bring an echo ring
High Ho, Merry Christmas to you all!

So we’ve officially become jet setters and have most recently landed in London. We will be here for two years and just enjoyed our first Christmas "across the pond." We've only been in our new place a short time, but we all worked hard to make it home before Christmas. Christmas Eve Isabelle and Chase got to play Mary and Joseph for the play put on by the kids at a friends' party. Christmas Day was filled with nothing but family togetherness, eating a big breakfast, and playing with our new toys, and of course, listening (and singing along to) Handel's Messiah:

"For unto us a child is born,
a son is given,
and His name shall be called,
the Mighty God,
the Everlasting Father,
the Prince of Peace."

May we all find peace and joy throughout the coming year.
We love and miss you and hope you'll keep in touch.

"In London, Baby!"
Chris has been on a project in the UK for several months now working in Oliver Wyman’s retail practice (formerly Mercer Management Consulting) so when the opportunity for the rest of us presented itself, we jumped at it. So the travelogue for 2007 includes (in chronological order - if you have a short attention span, scroll to the bottom of this post for the most current info):

Denver, Colorado USA - February
Visited Uncle Mark and fiancé K
atie and took the children skiing and sledding at friend Shane’s B&B. Anne tried out snowboarding and did pretty well on the first day, but after a boring lesson of nothingness taught by a pot-smoking 50 yr old, on day 2 she broke her wrist (will she ever play the piano again?... dun dun dun!). Uncle Carson also joined us for the fun.

Spamalot Weekend in London - March
Chris was unable to fly home for one of his weekends, so Anne flew out to join him in London for a few days. While there, they went to the original Hard Rock Cafe, took in a show (Spamalot - funniest show ever and includes "19.5 songs not in any other show in the West End"). Only regret was that we didn't purchase the Black Knight, complete with detachable bloody limbs.

New York, New York USA - June
Anne and friend Becky spent a week staying in the Big Apple for a week. For some of the time we also enjoyed the company of friend Chris and friend Malissa. Highlights include seeing show after show after show, seeing the Site of the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Times Square and of course shopping. Did you know there’s a giant karaoke jumbotron in Times Square? We went, but apparently you have to be drunk to have the nerve to perform so we just watched the show.

Kauai, Hawaii - June / July
Chris flew from London to LAX and met up with the rest of us for a trip to the Islands with Eric & Cindy and their children. Did you know that if you challenge a 13 year old to run across a place where there’s potential to fall into the muddy water that she will in fact try it - even without a swim suit, towel, or change of clothes!? Especially when challenged by fun loving Uncle Chris? Yep. Will try it and succeed (at getting wet and muddy with no towel or change of clothes). Trip highlights include outings with extended family, Anne’s first SCUBA experience, Kemps with the cousins (new card game courtesy of friends from Chris & Anne’s 10th anniversary cruise last year), and of course, lots & lots of Hawaii shave ice.

Cupertino, California - July
On our way back from Hawaii, we went to see DeeDee & Grandpa, the Taber grandparents, in Cupertino for the Fourth of July. We enjoyed fireworks and lots of swimming. Isabelle earned money by swimming laps (her first laps in a full length pool) and also taught herself to dive. Chase is also doing very well with swimming - very independent. We celebrated DeeDee & Grandpa's wedding anniversary at the Melting Pot - great fun for the whole family - thanks for getting married DeeDee & Grandpa!

Moab, Utah - July
Anne flew to Utah to drive back to Texas with friend Becky. Though they both grew up in Utah, neither one had ever been to Arches. So they hiked up to Delicate Arch in time to catch the sunset, camped overnight in Moab and spent the next day hiking and climbing around more of the arches. Why have we never done this before!? It was amazing. Highlights of the trip include the iPod Karaoke Game. To play, choose a song for your friend to sing, give her (or him) the earphones, turn it way up and enjoy the comedy and or entertainment of your own live show! Tip: You must sing what is chosen, and you must sing as though you were by yourself, i.e., no inhibitions. Almost as much fun as playing Guitar Hero (which was also one of the highlights of the trip).

London, England UK - August

Anne, Isabelle and Chase took the 9 hour flight to meet up with Chris for two weeks in the UK. (Break into Clash song: London Calling…) We stayed at Le Meridian in Piccadilly Circus. While Chris was at work Anne and the children spent the first day at Hamley’s. It is a giant FAO Schwartz-style toy store in London including 5 stories of toys and its own kid-friendly eatery and sweet shop. Mary Poppins (the musical) was playing in the West End so we took the children. One of our favorite things was seeing all the street performers in Covent Garden. Chase recently asked how all the statues were able to move. I explained that they were street performers with a really good paint job (light bulb moment!).
This trip is when we introduced to Isabelle and Chase the idea of moving to London. When asked where they wanted to live, Isabelle said Piccadilly Circus and Chase wanted to go up to Leeds – probably because there’s a talking elevator in Chris’ building there. Other highlights of the trip included seeing Leeds Castle and getting lost in the giant hedge maze on the grounds. We also went on the London Eye and saw the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (or at least saw the backs of all 10,000 people watching the Changing of the Guard!)

Princeton, New Jersey & NYC, New York - November

Once we decided to move to London, and before the kids got started in British schools, we decided to stop and spend a few days visiting our friends in our first home in Princeton, NJ. Friends Derick & Malissa generously allowed us to stay with them. Chase and Gibson had fun playing cars, K’Nex and Dress-up while Isabelle had fun playing big sister or babysitter to Delaney (note: a seven year-old is not old enough to independently babysit an 18-month old!). On our last day we packed up all the children and spent the day in New York. We rode the Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us in Times Square, enjoyed hotdogs and roasted nuts from street vendors, and hit the Build-a-Bear and American Girl stores.

Chiswick, London, England UK - Present Day
We began our stay in London staying in corporate housing while waiting for our overseas shipment to arrive. After two day's worth of searching, this is the place we chose and tried to rent. But we don't live there. We had such difficulties negotiating the contract that we decided to begin the search again.
So here it is. Our new home for the next two years! I've haven't captured a photo on a sunny day yet, but you can see it's a converted Victorian flat. It has two bedrooms and an open kitchen/dining room/living room with two sets of French doors that open onto the back garden. So far, it has been very comfortable. After living out of suitcases for over a month it is nice to have our own things, and to make a home for ourselves.


leslie said...

Annie! What a wonderful post and adventurous year you have had. I can't believe how grown up your kids are. Awesome experience to live abroad, I'm sure.

therosas said...

Dear Chris and Anne,
Congrats on your move. It sounds like a grand adventure! After reading about all your travels, all we could think was "We hope they have frequent flyer miles!" ;) We're glad to see you're following in the Taber tradition: keep on movin'!
Henry, Laurie, Jake, Sam, and Gabriella

Malsy said...

Congrats on the BLog and for graciously including me! I LOVE your home and it so sounds like you are doing Fabulous! you look FANTASTIC in your piture!

You are welcome here at ANY moment! Gibson talks about CH-Jase
all the time!

Don B said...

Thanks for sharing your busy 2007! It was great to see pictures of you all and hear about your adventures. Have a great stay in England, and keep us up to date on your lives!

Don and Pat Bahr

ps, hip hip, cheerio, and mind the gap!

Mad Hadder said...

Wow! You've been on the move! Aren't blogs the best? We can keep connected. I just got home from a week in NJ with the mission to help Mary Jane de-junk before she puts her home on the market. Great seeing good good friends and traipsing around in the city. Check out my blog at Love to all! Marilyn

Bek said...

Love the update!! The kids are huge and you all look so tan and healthy... like a JCrew ad!!

The house is amazing. I am so excited to hear all about your adventures in London. If anyone can do London right, it is the Taber's....