Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Last All Star Sports

All Star Sports Clinic is (fiiiiinnnnnnnaaaaalllllllllly) over.

I think maybe Henry would like it better next year. I swear he turned into a different kid every time we walked in that gym and acted like he doesn't play football 11 hours a day and baseball for 13.

Here he is contemplating a crab walk/crawl during "warm-up":

And actually trying it:

And chasing the soccer ball when he got to be on the black team, his favorite:

Svea enjoyed this last clinic as she has fallen in love with emptying my purse and applying her own lipstick, which she calls "minimas":

This may have been the last of the straight-up ponytails before Brian and I tried to cut her bangs. I had her cheeks in one hand, the scissors in my other, while Brian held her arms down. She still shook her head side to side and now has three new levels in her bangs. Awesome.

Some Green Robin Hoods

Some random weirdos in Nottingham, England near Sherwood Forest:

Some cuties in Evansville, IN in Robin Hood hats their nice parents gave them:

Barnett Boys

One of the most wonderful parts of our visit to England was my visit with Stacy, Luke and Caleb Barnett.
Stacy and I went to high school together in Birmingham and now she and her family live in the UK. I was eager to be around toddlers, and she drove many hours in the pouring rain, on the left side of road, to pick me up for lunch.

At lunch, since it was raining and cold the entire time we visited, I ordered a hot chocolate.
And Luke loved it.

Special treats...

At one point, when we had made quite a mess at the table, I do think that Stacy told the waiter that Luke was my kid...did you not, Stace?

Sweet Caleb, who is 8 months.

After lunch, we went back to the Manor and played with toys that were hidden in several drawers in a closet in our flat. I had no idea they were there, but Luke found them within .48 seconds of arriving.

We walked around the grounds and the lions were a big hit.

I did not get a picture, thank goodness, of Stacy and the boys and me jumping over a cement railing when we found that we were locked in on one side of the gardens. Why walk all the way back around when you can hurdle a simple obstacle?

Thanks, Stacy!

Making Silly Faces with Papa

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Harlaxton Manor in the Sun

Harlaxton Manor in the Sun
Originally uploaded by iMollie.
I just created a set on flickr called Harlaxton and will upload all our current photos there by tonight. You can get to flickr by clicking on the flickr photo box in the left column on this page, or by clicking on "Flickr" under the Link category.

One of the Regal Garden Guards

Lion guarding the garden gates
Originally uploaded by iMollie.

Front gates to enter Manor

Front gates to enter Manor
Originally uploaded by iMollie.
What you see when you step out of the Manor's front doors. At the end of that long road is a pub. Thank goodness.

Harlaxton Manor, backside

Another view from the gardens
Originally uploaded by iMollie.
Here's a view of the Manor from the back gardens. Seriously.

Harlaxton, through the trees

Harlaxton, through the trees
Originally uploaded by iMollie.
The sun came out for the first time yesterday afternoon. I walked out of my room - camera in hand - to see some students running, cameras in their hands, to take pictures of everything while the sun was out. Good thing we did as it is cold and raining again this morning. I overheard one professor saying that he has been cold, tired and hungry since we got here. Aaahhhh, to be in England.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Harlaxton vs. Belvoir

The manor where Brian and I are staying, and that the University of Evansville owns, is called Harlaxton Manor. Across rolling green fields and a bunch of rain is another castle, Belvoir Castle. Pronounced "Beaver" by the British. Probably just to make the French mad. We toured both today and our heads are full of history and our feet are throbbing.

Apparently, Harlaxton and Belvoir were rivals when being built, and Harlaxton ended up with one more room, so they win. Whoopee. However, a Duke and Duchess and their 5 kids (three of which we saw today! Royalty, I tell you!) still live in the Belvoir Castle. So the furniture and carpets and restoration are amazing. Harlaxton, on the other side of the rainy, sprawling lawns, has classes in its great ballrooms so all the furniture is moved around and is not original.

Here is the view out of the front of the Harlaxton Manor:

And a close up of the second front gate:

Here is a view of the ceiling in the stairwell of the cedar staircase. The staircases would be easier to understand if they were the moving ones in Hogwarts.

Cherubs on the ceiling in a classroom. I repeat, this is the ceiling of a CLASSROOM.

This is looking out the back of the manor, next to the conservatorium (green house). I plan to take more of these pictures once it stops raining.

And now for the Beavers. I mean, Belvoir.
Part of the crest for the Duke's family has a peacock on it, a symbol of royalty. So there are peahens and peacocks hidden in the ornate ceilings and rugs and furniture throughout the Belvoir. Here are the peahens on the flat runs of the walls and peacocks in the corners. In gold.

Here's a better view of the "Withdrawing Room" where the women would go after dinner while the men had their cigars, brandy and talked politics. The women would play cards and listen to music and wait on the men to come get them when they were ready for the gambling to begin.

Here is a crib that someone made for the Duke and Duchess of the day when they finally had a son, an heir. I can't remember the name of the people, unfortunately, my brain is too full. I'll look it up. I do remember that the parents did not actually use the cradle because it rocked too easily and the child would have fallen out. Nice gesture though.

More pictures of castles and stones to come, I feel sure. That's all for tonight though.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lincoln, England

So Brian and I are in England for a few days.
We've got the house and dog sitter set, the kids are at grandparent camp, and Brian and I are nestled in Harlaxton Manor in Grantham, England. It's rainy and chilly most of the time, but the accents, the architecture, the walking, the FEEL of the place is wonderful.
I am still a slave to jet lag, and to the college student schedule of coming in at 2:27am with a certain forgetfulness of others who didn't choose the pub scene this particular night. There is a window in our little flat that allows me to spy on them when they return by taxi, so I look forward to teasing some of them tomorrow.

Today, or maybe it was yesterday, we took a bus to a neighboring town called Lincoln. Lincoln is small, but bears the sign of every mjor invasion in England since the 1st century A.D.

Here is one of the corners where boutiques and tea houses line the cobblestone pedestrian road. Since it was Saturday, the roads and shops were pretty crowded. This made for good people watching and accent listening:

Here is the amazing Lincoln cathedral, where John Wesley preached once:

And some guys sitting pretty above an entrance:

Here are some geese all in a frenzy for food under a cool sculpture called Empowerment hanging over the water. If you could have been with me when I snapped this one, you too could have heard the two guys under a plastic tent with their big synthesizer and speakers who were basically having a karaoke party for a group of teenagers. They were on "Ride, Sally, Ride" when I walked by.

It really started raining after this shot so I ducked into the Wig and Mitre Pub with Brian and Gregg Wilson to rest, have a drink and watch people go by. The table next to us was full of about 8 people excitedly speaking in Spanish. It was a small slice of rainy heaven.

Monday, May 07, 2007

All Star Henry

All Star Sports this past week was baseball/t-ball.

Henry, as you've seen below, spent the weekend playing t-ball with cousins and uncles then proceeded to forget all of his skills for his actual All Star Sports class.

He did wear his glove almost the whole time, even though gloves were not required, and they eventually asked him to take it off.

Here he is opting out of the warm-up again:

And running bases:

I'm actually pleased to have this session come to an got kinda stressful for me to watch. I don't what I'll do if he really gets onto teams that play 5 times a week and all weekend.