christmastime and our last days with lizzy

here i am, more than half way through 2021, having made an overseas move with our four kids under five, reminiscing on christmastime last year as i attempt to dig myself out from a huge mountain of unorganised photos. this time back in december 2020 feels like a distant dream now – so much has happened since. but it has been therapeutic and sweet to look back … it has helped me to look forward.

so here’s some snapshots of our last christmastime in london. we had our nanny lizzy with us for the first couple of weeks of december, before she moved back to utah. she’ll never know how grateful we are to her and she’ll always be a part of our hearts and our family.

making our traditional, from-scratch gingerbread house. it gets more messy and tricky but also more fun every year as the kids want and can be more involved. we did the whole process in record time this year – gathering ingredients, mixing, rolling, measuring and cutting, baking, cooling, creating stained-glass windows, constructing, decorating, draping with “snow,” and demolishing/eating all within a few days.

the finished product:

the roof of which caved in less than 24 hours later, so we got to go right to the best part:

gobbling up all the walls and decorations!

some two month old twins sweetness … august smiling in his sleep and eve showing off her wiiiiide eyes:

i took a run through chelsea one morning and wanted to stop by the ivy restaurant to see if they had put up their (always spectacular) holiday display for christmas yet. well….they sure had!! i happened to run by as a photo shoot was going on with some models dressed up as very festive elves striking all kinds of poses. it made my day, week and month!

lizzy took gabriel to storytelling with father christmas at the royal albert hall one morning and sent me these photos.

and one afternoon they went to see the light display at the tate britain.

one saturday we rented a car and went out to a christmas tree farm to pick out our tannenbaum. it was chaotic with all the kids and ian had to run to get some rope so we could tie it to the top of the car (we assumed they would have some there, but no!) but still great fun on a cold sunny day.

we loved having lizzy with us and moses had fun turning the stacked trees into a playground while we waited for daddy to return with the rope.

so joyful to have a christmas tree in our front window again! our fourth christmas at that lexham gardens flat.

after we got the tree we went to hampton court palace to go ice skating. we were excited that there was one rink open in the london area amidst all the covid regulations. lizzy explored the palace grounds with the babies while ian and i took the boys on the ice. they loooved it, especially moses. can you tell from these photos?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

one thing moses doesn’t like is strangers taking his photo, haha (the ones above with all of us were taken by lizzy!). gabriel was a little unsure of all the slipping and sliding but mostly loved it and it was really fun to be able to use both the little penguins and whales. the golden hour light was so glowy and it we made such a happy family memory.

beautiful wreaths around the neighbourhood:

we visited the nursery school where gabriel was slated to start in january. and just enjoyed all the christmas cheer in our little home!

most common state of the flat with two preschoolers and two babies. once we accepted that the mess and the ubiquitous laundry pile were just unrelenting for this season of life, we were able to lean into it and thrive amidst the chaos ๐Ÿ™‚

august and eve, our precious babies:

i went one night to a st. lucia concert at the swedish church in marylebone with my dear friend skye. (i’m mad i didn’t think to take a picture of the two of us there!) it was totally soul-feeding. when was the last time you sat still for a significant amount of time and just absorbed something really beautiful? it had been a long time for me, and the music and candlelight that night were soothing, revitalizing, healing. it was awesome.

ian and i got to go out to the theatre! the last time we had been at a show in the west end was when covid was just becoming a real thing and we couldn’t stop speculating at the interval about how the pandemic might unfold (without using that word which has now become a part of our everyday lexicon, of course). the events of the next nine months were beyond anything we could have imagined that night! it was really exciting to be back in a theatre – you could feel the energy and thrill of the audience and the performers and it was lucky we caught that performance because all shows were shut down again just a couple of weeks later.

we also got to have a double date with our dear friends brooke and henry at these cool “igloo” pods at sommerset house. we had formed a legally permitted “childcare bubble” with the eyrings and it felt so good to be with friends, especially in such a unique dining experience!

ian blessed us all with his awesome christmas jumper and brooke and i somehow got our husbands to stop talking about economics for part of the meal, which was a win ๐Ÿ˜‰

after four months of being the biggest trooper ever living in this tiny space with our two rambunctious boys (lizzy was on the bottom bunk, moses on the top bunk, and gabriel in the crib tetris-ed in there!),

our lizzy moved out of our home and back to utah. my goodbye with her was super curt because i didn’t want to ugly cry. she will always be our family’s angel and we’ll forever be grateful for her help and positive impact on our kids.

last time walking moses to school:

and then as we approached christmas day 2020, we started a new chapter as a family of six without live-in help.

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