Monday, 26 December 2016

18 Months

Happy Boxing Day! George is 18 months old today!

It's been a busy, fun month! We had a few days left in the States after he hit 17 months, including Aunt Kelly's birthday! 

On our first weekend back home, we went down to Birmingham

We caught their German Christmas Market this year--it's the largest one outside of Germany!

George was very interested in the market's huge Christmas tree

Looking out at the crowds on New Street

The market had a lot of the same stalls as our own Christkindlmarkt in Leeds, but there were some different ones we don't have--a Strudel stall (we had Gingerbread Strudel! So good!), a Stollen stall (I bought some apple Stollen for Christmas eve), and different mulled wines we don't have, like cherry and blueberry
We had a great time in Birmingham, and then had a lovely visit with Ruth back in Polesworth 

Back in Leeds, the following weekend for my birthday :)

The next day we went to York--we visited Santa in the Shambles Market

There were all of these ice sculptures around town, sponsored by local companies--this one was by Terry's, and it's full of chocolate oranges! 

George loved the little digger--he kept moving the levers the whole time we went around

Very serious little digger operator

York was incredibly crowded--apparently we weren't the only ones with the idea of going to York's Christmas markets on a Saturday 2 weeks before Christmas...The area around the Minster was calmer!

York is gorgeous all year round, but it's really lovely at Christmas!

Our closest Starbucks is attached to a hotel/gym/spa up the road, and George has been fascinated by the Christmas trees in their lobby

Richard's Gingerbread House--I love the little paved footpath and the gingerbread people building a snowman!

My Gingerbread House

 Last Friday we went to Castle Howard for the last day of their Christmas celebrations

They had so many trees around the house--this one was decorated with Delft blue & white china!

The Great Hall

They had an amazing Gingerbread house display that included all of the buildings on the grounds

It also had a little train (going too fast to catch a good picture!) that was made of gingerbread--so cute!

View of the Great Hall from the stairwell

On Christmas eve, we went to our church's crib service--it's a service aimed at kids that tells the story of the Nativity. They had various kids bringing different parts of the scene (angels, Mary, Shepherds, Donkey, etc.) and George got to add one of the little lambs to the scene. He was very good during the service--he goes all quiet and interested when people sing!

When we got home, we had our Julbord Christmas eve buffet and opened presents. George grabbed this one and ripped the paper before I'd finished setting out all of the presents!

It's a tool kit--I thought he might be too young, but he loves it!

He loves his Fisher Price record player from Aunt Julie & Debbie! He's been taking the records out and putting them back in the little holder today--so cute!

Opening the Winnie the Pooh puzzle from Aunt Kelly, Uncle Jason and the boys

I love his expression--he really looks like he's trying to figure it out!

He was really into opening gifts this year--paper was flying!

Playing with his presents after breakfast on Christmas morning

Our stockings--George, Biscuit, Richard, Molly

George was really into the stocking, too--he kept digging for more!

I love how serious he looks here...

Santa gave him some big boy cutlery (12+ months) that includes a very safe knife--he was fascinated!

Almost done--time to dig deep!

Biscuit was really into her stocking, too--this is the first Christmas we've spent with her, and it was lovely to see her enjoying her presents!

She ate several of her cat treats and got in a good fight with her new toy mice

At Christmas dinner, Biscuit got a cracker of her own, too

She's such a good sport

George pulled his first Christmas cracker with me

So shocked by the snap!

Reading out the terrible, they're good!

Merry Christmas! The run-up to Christmas is always a crazy, busy time and it really has been this year, too--work's been busy for both Richard and me, and we've been filling our weekends with travels and Christmas markets and events!

George has been doing great--he's such a smiley, happy, chilled-out kid. He's babbling a lot, especially when he's at home. We're still working on walking unassisted, and he's been making some great progress over the past couple of days. We've broken our "no screen time under 2" rule a couple of times to have Christmas movies on before he goes to bed, and he loves it--claps and shrieks and babbles at the screen, and gets overstimulated. All the more reason to limit it, but it is awfully cute!

He made a great haul this Christmas, with some lovely presents from friends and family on both sides of the pond. He's a very lucky little guy! We hope you've all had a great Christmas and we wish you a Happy New Year! All the best for 2017!

This month's firsts:
First visit to Santa's Grotto
First steps--on Christmas day, he finally took a couple of unassisted shuffling steps a few times. We're gonna count it as his first steps!
First Christmas party--they had a party at nursery, including a visit from Father Christmas!
First Boxing Day walk--we braved the cold windy weather and walked up to the Stables Pub at Weetwood Hall for a pub lunch today (it's a traditional thing to go for a walk (hike) on Boxing Day...we're kind of cheating by walking to a pub, haha!)