Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Home for Christmas 2012

Welcome back, Blogfans.  A happy 2013 to you.  We've groggily entered the new year as we recover from our jet lag.  We arrived back in the UK yesterday morning, New Year's Eve.  It was more of a struggle than I remembered but we slept late today and seem to have recovered more or less.

We are a predictable bunch and our Christmas holiday was quite similar to previous years.  Take a look back to last year and you'll see quite the repeat.  Whether coming from the UK or our home in Indianapolis, we visit Kuk's family in Maryland and my family in North Carolina.  The only difference is the jet lag and the extra shopping (we did our best to boost the US economy while we were home).

But first, we had a few school events before setting off:

Alex's school had a Christmas musical of sorts.  Each of the four "houses" (just like in Harry Potter) performed a non-traditional song.  Alex's group did "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer".  They did a great job and won the competition in fact.  Alex is a funeral goer (1st dark suit on the left).  You can see poor grandma laid out on the table.

 Begging Grandma not to go out

 Poor Grandma

I was glad to be able to attend (as was Kuk).  I had planned to take off early but I got stuck in a sticky situation at work.  I left as soon as I could and fortunately made it before his skit (but after the start of the show).  Perfect timing, actually!

The formal Christmas program for the school was held at Derby Cathedral (see previous visit).  Grand building but horrible sight lines.

We flew to the US on Friday, 12/21.  One of the top highlights for the kids was seeing their aunt's dogs again.   Here's Nicole with Annie.

 and Alex with Nicoli

One tradition we have is to always get together with Kuk's longtime (grade school) friend Julie, her husband Roy and their daughter Ashley.  I managed to leave without taking any pictures again.  Sorry guys.  We had a great visit and some great food as usual.   It's an annual treat for us.

Another tradition is ice skating on Christmas Eve.  Typically we go to the Sculpture Garden but we tried a newer place in Georgetown.  Though not as scenic, the facilities were nicer.  Nicole with her cousins Shay and Cass.

 Alex in action

 Cass, Aunt Mi Jung and Nicole starting a train chain

 Aunt Kuk Ja, Nicole and Shay

 Kuk and Mi Jung

 Shay, Mi Jung and Uncle Ted sneaking up

a nice one of Alex and Shay (these two paired up well -- we managed to see Les Miserables on Christmas and they swapped candy and kept themselves entertained through the whole movie)

 one last shot of most of the girls

after skating we had some excellent pizza and beer.  I do miss the beers available in the States.  I indulged myself with the Black Chocolate Stout on the right.  It was high in alcohol content so they served it in the cute little glass.  Kuk's wheat beer is on the left.

We spent the rest of the day at the Houseknects.  This was a familiar scene of everyone playing on their electronic devices.  Modern day Christmas!

Partial family shot on Christmas Day back at the Kims.  I realized that I didn't get any photos of the grandparents this time.  Oops.

 nice one of Shay and Nicole

10 year old Shay explaining things to Kuk

Our non-typical but traditional for us Christmas spread:  Sushi!

We did get some snow, just a day late for Christmas.  It made driving to the mall for our annual day-after shopping a little dicey but it melted by the end of the day.

Next up was our trip down to NC.  Fortunately our Ohio cousins Brian and Brett were able to join us for a few meals and this gift exchange. Their parents joined us too, just not in this photo.

Soccer nut and goalkeeper Brett liked his England Joe Hart shirt.

 my sister, aunt and mother (not my photo, but it certainly fits!)

another tradition -- a nice steak at Outback.  This and a salad for the equivalent of £10 here.  Can't get that quality for that price here.

Another tradition is hooking up with my junior high / senior high / college buddy John and his family while we are in town.

John's a big time car nut and Ford guy.  He showed off his new toy, a recently purchased restored 1940 Ford.  Sweet.

 John and other long time friend Ray and me

The entertainment for the afternoon was clearly John and Lori's nearly 3 year old twins Graydon and Margot.  How quickly we've forgotten how energetic kids that age could be.  We had a great time hanging out and enjoying the show.

 my kids with Graydon

 and all 4 -- most of the pictures were a little blurry as the Tots aren't known for staying still!

 the two cuties

 Nicole and Graydon

Margot was perched high on a stool and pretending to be "Re-Pencil" (with her long hair)

family shot -- sorry for the closed eyes Lori.  It was that or a moving Graydon.

Our trip home was low on sites but high on friends, family, food and fun.  That suits us just fine.  It was great to see everyone.

Finally, a quick mention for my last Jamie Oliver 15-minute meal of 2012. 

 this one was called Asian Fish and has both white fish and salmon

it was served with Miso Noodles and crunchy veg.  Another winner.  Nothing from the book planned for this week but I'll get back in the swing soon.

Note for those in the US, that might be interested, you can purchase the book though it is a little pricey.  Here's the link.  (Here's the UK version for those on this side).

Thanks for reading everyone.  Happy New Year.

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