Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 007

2007 – the Highs and Lows

I always seem to take the last day of the year as a time to reflect on all that has gone on in the past 364 days. Here are some of the highs (and a few not-so-highs) in the year at Dances with Lyons (or at least the ones I can remember since I’ve already moved on to my 2008 calendar!):
February 16 – we set off for our two-week trip to Thailand where we had an amazing time seeing the sights and eating delicious food in this beautiful country
February 24/25 – the weekend of Dad’s heart attack; fortunately he is doing well now but this was a very scary time
March – inaugural meeting of the North/South London Karate Club for Readers
May 26-June 3 – to Italy for Diana and Ivano’s wedding; Baby Lyons makes his/her first appearance on the DwL radar screen
June 19 – Baby L’s existence confirmed!
July – Mom and Dad’s trip to England and Scandinavia; shared good news with family and friends
I should add here that the summer was officially the worst in more than 200 years of record-keeping in terms of rain: rainfall was more than double the seasonal average, with the early summer months of May to July witnessing 382.4mm (15.06 inches) of rainwater, topping the previous record of 349.1mm in 1789, officials said. It was awful, and that’s putting it mildly.
August – went to new Wembley to see England lose to Germany in a football friendly. Not impressed with the £8 fish and chips.
September 17 – Emma Scheel Lyons born to Tom and Lykke
This is of course not recounting all the lovely weddings we went to, and the births of several precious babies. It has been a good year, all told, and we look forward to what 2008 has in store. From all of us at Dances with Lyons, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Me and my bump!

A few of you have expressed an interest in seeing photos of me pregnant. At DwL, we aim to please, so here are a few shots of me at 30 and a bit weeks. Things are starting to get a lot tighter in the ol' abdominal region, that is for sure. So far I've not been too uncomfortable although I still have 9 more weeks to go, so I'm sure that is going to change! Simba continues to move quite a bit, mostly around midday and then in the evening when I'm trying to relax on the couch. Thanks to Mom and Motherhood for being my clothing sponsors during my pregnancy!

Emma's growing up!

We got to see our niece Emma last weekend, now 3 months old. She is very cute and we got some practice...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Welcome Baby McElrue!

Text message from Bianca yesterday reporting that she and James now have a son, Luke, born Thursday, Nov 29 at 11:18 a.m. and weighing in at 7 lb, 1 oz. No doubt B and James are over the moon with joy, and my prediction that they would have a boy makes me 2 for 2 recently, with having called it that Adam and Michelle would also have a boy!
Congratulations Bianca and James and welcome, Luke!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Simba’s second photo shoot

We got to see “Simba” for the second time on Friday morning, and we were thrilled and relieved to hear that everything seems to be ok! The ultrasound was at 9:00 a.m. and the scanographer pointed out to us the first thing she saw was the the baby doing an “early morning arm stretch”….if he/she could just sleep in until 9 a.m., I think we’d be happy! This time I was not so giggly but it was very exciting to hear that things are still progressing well. I hope you’ll agree with me that the baby looks very beautiful (or handsome). Here are a shot of one of its feet, and a couple of profiles.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The 2007 Wedding Season Wrap-Up

What a year 2007 has been for nuptials! The team at Dances with Lyons has travelled across Europe to witness 6 special couples say "I Do", and we're happy to announce our 2007 Wedding Awards!

The 2007 DwL Wedding Award Winners
Claire and Tim, in the category of "Best Virtual Wedding"
Claire and Tim's webcast of their Cayman Island wedding ceremony was the highlight of my Saturday afternoon back on April 14th. I could almost feel the sun on my back and the sea breeze in my hair! Claire and Tim also receive a nomination for "Best Wedding Reception held within a 500m vicinity of Blackpool Tower". We enjoyed getting to see the happy couple back in the UK on April 21st.
Verdict: Claire and Tim's smiles "illuminated" the room!

Alex and Kenza, in the category of "Best Wedding Held in a Stately Home"
Whew, were the staff at Goodwood House probably pleased to see the end of May 19th with their fine art and antiques intact! Sadly for the editor, much of this day is a bit of blur courtesy of Veuve Cliquot, although I do remember that A&K looked blissfully happy and that the Moroccan dance lessons given by Kenza's mother were top notch.
Verdict: A day as sweet as milk and honey.

Diana and Ivano, in the category of "Best Wedding Held in the Roman Forum"
Despite Alitalia's best attempts to make us miss the big event, we arrived in Rome on May 26th ready for a Caesar style knees-up, and we were not disappointed! Di and Ivano said "arrivederci" to their single days in a beautiful ceremony enjoyed by guests and tourists alike, just a few steps from the Colliseum. We also ate enough delicious food to last us til the Amalfi Coast...
Verdict: "When in Rome, attend a fabulous wedding - you will never forget it!"

Russell and Caroline, in the category of "Best Wedding for Chesney Hawkes Impersonators"
The rainy start to the summer was a distant memory as Russ and Caroline showed us a marvelous day on July 7th, with a lovely ceremony and a full-course party that lasted into the wee hours. This was a more tricky one for the DwL editor as she had to conceal her pregnancy, however sobriety meant that many of the epic dance floor moves were captured on camera.
R&C also earn a nomination for "Best Stunt Driving by a Coach Driver"
Verdict: The sun shone on Bristol's finest!

Chris and Anna, in the category of "Best Wedding where the Groom called the Bride 'Alan'"
Brighton hosted the Ronay/Pendse wedding on August 18th, where Anna took Chris to be her husband, and the tongue-tied Christopher did finally take Anna to be his wife. An amazing band kept the dance floor HOT, but not too hot to melt an enormous cheesecake...that is, an extraordinary 4-tiered cake made of cheese. A seagull-drawn chariot then ferried the newlyweds back to their hotel to wrap up the beautiful day (ok, that part I made up).
Verdict: Brighton Rocks!

Jamie and Diane, in the category of "Best Wedding for Foie Gras Lovers"
We wrapped up the season by heading to the Southwest of France for the Ficook union on September 22nd. The franco-anglais spirit was in fine form, with a bilingual ceremony (Diane's instructions to Jamie were to just say 'oui'), interactive speeches, and some impressive dance displays from both sides of the Channel. Diane and Jamie showed us all that regardless of origins, the "language of love" is the one they speak best! Also earns a nomination for "Best Opportunity to Spot Professional Rugby Players".
Verdict: Vive l'amour!

Well done to all the happy couples! DwL is currently taking bookings for summer 2008 (we need some advance warning to line up a babysitter!). So far it's the Gundersen-Driver affair which will take the Golden Lyon award for Best Wedding of the it's the only one we know of so far!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I can drive! Theoretically at least...

I am in the process of obtaining a license to drive in the United Kingdom. Despite having driven since the age of 15, I have gone back to basics and am learning how to drive a manual car, aka a "stick shift"! 12 lessons in, I am slowly getting to the point where I don't stall every time I slow down, or every time I move out from a stop, so I'm making progress. I reached an important milestone this past weekend when I passed the Theory Test, an exam which has evidently changed in scope over the past few years - in fact, when I told most people who already have their licenses that I was taking this "theory test" they seemed to have to wrack their brains to recall whether they in fact had to do something similar. But as Trevor Wedge, who is the Chief Driving Examiner and Director of Safer Driving at the DSA, states, "With the ever-increasing volume of traffic on the roads today, it's important to make sure that new drivers have a positive attitude and a broad spread of driving knowledge and ability." My thoughts exactly...At any rate, the good news is that I passed the test, missing just one question on the multiple choice and not being sick from motion sickness on a newer portion which they call the "Hazard Perception" part. Imagine being hungover and having sit on the front of a car and videotape while an equally hungover friend drives through lots of heavy traffic, encountering lots of bad drivers and idiot pedestrians along the was a bit like that, but also required clicking the mouse whenever I spotted a hazard developing. Speaking of hazards developing, watch out London, Meg's coming to a road near you!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our new niece!

On Sept 17, the day after our wedding anniversary, Tom and Lykke became the proud parents of Emma Scheel Lyons, and we got to meet her a few weekends ago! Despite a couple of trying first weeks, the new parents seemed to be doing very well and enjoying their daughter, who is very sweet. We tried to get a little practice but I'm not sure how we did...hopefully it might come more naturally when it is our own?!
Congratulations Tom and Lykke and welcome, Emma!

Loyal to Loyalty Cards

I must admit that I'm a sucker for loyalty cards - the ones where you get stamps everytime you buy a certain product that "earns" a stamp, or a hole punch, or however it is that the vendor knows you have purchased their product and qualify for the illustrious notch on their loyalty card. Earlier this year I was having some problems managing my stamps from the Bagel Factory, where I often get bagels on the way to work. Some days they would give me a brand-new card when I didn't really deserve to have earned a stamp. The result was an accumulation of 9 cards with only one stamp each. My first thought was to keep them all, and slowly work toward completing all 9 of them. I figured out I would only need to eat 72 more bagels before earning 9 free ones - certainly not an impossible task, but one that made me feel slightly bloated with gluton every time I pondered it! I thought there had to be a less obsessive-compulsive approach to take...

Last week I arrived at the bagel place and there were no other customers, so I took the plunge and asked if they wouldn't mind consolidating my stamps onto one card. The answer was yes! I walked away with a full card and a nice clean one with only one stamp, so that now I can start again. If they offer me a new card when I have one sitting in my wallet, I will make sure I give them the one I already I just have to remember to redeem my "hard-earned" bagel...

Lyon cub on the way!

In case we haven't told you our exciting news, we're happy to report that we are expecting a little Lyon cub! "Simba's" estimated arrival date is Feb 24, 2008, leaving open the possibility of him/her being a leap year baby. We had our first scan on August 10, and from this picture you might think Simba looks quite chilled out, kicking back and relaxing. In fact, we seem to have a moon-walking gymnast on ours hands - the little one was bouncing all over the walls, leading to me to hysterical giggles which were not appreciated by the lady doing the scan. More to come...