Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas 2008

We had such a nice Christmas this year and Santa thoroughly spoiled the kids this year! On Christmas Eve, we played games, set out some cookies and milk and the kids got to open their new jammies.

Natalie opening her jammies
Robbie opening his jammies
In their jammies just before being banished to bed!
It was really nice because Natalie and Robbie went right to sleep and by 8:00 PM, Shawn and I were able to finish up the last minute things! We even got to bed ourselves by 10:30. Then after a very restful night sleep, we had to wake the kids up at 7:00 AM! We thought for sure that last year would be the last year we would be able to sleep in on Christmas morning! It was so nice, especially because I remember Christmasses when I was little when we woke my Mom and Dad up as early as 4:00 AM! I made a quick run downstairs to turn on the lights (except the tree because half the strand shorted out *cry*) and to get the video camera ready.

Here are the kids waiting on the stairs to see what Santa brought!
And this is what they found!

Unfortunately, the rest of the experience is on video so I can't share any of that with you just yet but Natalie and Robbie had a great time opening up their stockings and presents!

Santa Claus is coming to town

On the 21st the base had their annual Children's Christmas party. We went to the movie theater on base and started watching The Polar Express but it kept pausing and then quit all together. It was so annoying, but then they came and explained that the machine ate the film! They tracked down a new machine and a new movie so we ended up watching The Santa Clause. The kids really enjoyed it and it's not a film they have seen so it was fun. It's the first time in a LONG time that the kids have been to a "real" movie. The only big problem we had was that both Natalie and Robbie are so small that they got folded up in the cinema seats. After the movie, Santa came to see all of the good little boys and girls! That was the most exciting part for them of course and thankfully this year, Robbie was more keen to say hello and not run away screaming!

Santa's Workshop
Frosty came to visit too! Robbie didn't think Frosty was very nice and stayed very far away!
Waiting our turn
Ho Ho Ho

Sunday, 14 December 2008


On Wednesday was Natalie’s school Christmas program. The title was “The Disgruntled Snowman.” Some of the characters included the Snowman, Dr. Frost, Stars, Snowflakes, Sheep, Shepherds, the Wise Men and the Holy Family. I was really curious as to how they were going to incorporate the Holy Family in with all of the other characters! It wasn’t the most reverent of Christmas pageants I’ve seen, but it was cute and the children all did a great job. Natalie was a sheep.

We couldn’t let Natalie have all the fun dressing up! On Friday night we had our Christmas party at church. We had a “Night in Bethlehem.” Shawn and I were to play the parts of Mary and Joseph (I am the most pregnant person in the ward at the moment so I look the part). Natalie was an angel (but as you can see, she preferred to dress as a sheep for the purposes of the following picture and video). We figured we couldn’t leave Robbie out of the fun so he got to dress as a donkey! Isn’t he cute? And just wait until you see the video!!! Sorry it is so dark, but it’s funny all the same. Of course when he was supposed to dress up at the church, he wasn’t going to have any part in it! It was hot and the Velcro was bugging him around his neck. Oh, if you listen carefully, you might be able to hear the kid’s Cornish accents. I’ll be so sad when we leave here and they start to sound American again!

Monday, 8 December 2008

New haircut and 26 week belly pic

I normally wouldn't post another belly pic so soon, but I was feeling pretty good about myself on Sunday and how I looked so I had Natalie take some pictures. I had my hair cut last week too and I wanted to show it off. Don't know if you can really see it in the picture though.

Christmas Decorations are UP!

I absolutely LOVE this time of year. I love decorating the house for Christmas and just enjoying the season. Things have been so crazy busy this year though and I was wondering if we were ever going to get them done. I like to have them up for a while so we can enjoy them as long as we can and I usually put my tree up around the 1st of December. This year that just didn't happen. On the 2nd I did manage to get everything but the tree up but we like to do the tree as a family so we had to wait until Saturday when we were all home. I didn't get to help a whole lot with the tree though because I had 7 dozen Gingerbread Biscotti to make, but Shawn and the kids did a GREAT job on the tree.

I am really going to miss decorating this house next year! It's the perfect house to decorate for Christmas because we have this great staircase with bannister and 2 fireplaces. I really wish we could take this house with us when we move, that makes me sad because I want to live in this house forever.

Anyway here are a couple of pictures of our efforts.

Our Staircase. I decided I wanted to hang the stockings here this year as we only have 3 stocking weights and we need 4 stockings this year.
My Willow Tree Natavity on top of the entertainment center.

Our tree

St Columb Christmas Lights

On Friday 28 November, our little community had their "Switching on the Christmas Lights". It's a HUGE community event. It started at the school where the school children had a costume contest. Natalie won 2nd prize! Not bad for a store bought angel costume. Then there was a parade from the school with the Fire Engine, a vintage tractor, a steam engine, the Indian Queens Band (the one I used to play in before I got pregnant) and the school children all dressed up. Once everyone was gathered at the church steps (the church has been here since the 14th century), the children sang some carols and the band played. Then the Town Crier presented the prizes for the costume contest and the painting contest and ordered the lights to be turned on. Then there were fireworks. It was such a great family night and I love that the community gets together to do these things!

Natalie and some of the other winners

Natalie's full costume including coat because it was COLD! We attached her wings to the outside of the coat

The Town Crier

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A Natalie funny

Sorry no pictures today, but I had to make a really quick post about something cute that happened with Natalie today.

Natalie is now 5 years old and is in Year 1 at the school. Year 1 has the same curriculum as American 1st grade so she is working on phonics, reading and spellings. She has really excelled in these areas and is reading books that I was struggling with when I was in 2nd grade. She is even trying to spell more difficult words using the phonics she has learned and it is so funny to see how her little brain works. Well today she wanted to write her name, now up until this point, she has known her full name is Natalie Ruth Spain, but has never wanted to write out the whole thing. Also, I don't know if it's an age thing or a speech thing, but she always pronounces the "th" sound as an "f" sound. Can anyone see where this is heading??? So I told her to go ahead and have a go at writing the whole thing and this is what she writes... "Natalie Roof Spain" I couldn't help but just crack up laughing. I was probably a bit insensitive, but for her just using the phonics and with her saying the "f" sound instead of the "th" sound, I thought it was a good effort, especially since she has not been taught how to write her middle name. I just thought it was so funny.

I don't know, maybe you had to be there!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

24 week belly pic

Well, I am now 24 weeks along (well technically 24 weeks and 2 days as I post this). It's so nice to be more than half way and baby Penelope is getting more active and wiggly everyday. I saw an obstetrician last week. Normally pregnancy care here is only followed by a midwife and you only see an OB if you've had a previous concern or you are high risk. With Natalie I had a bad tear and Group B-strep. Also, both pregnancies, I had trouble with my epidurals. The one with Robbie didn't work AT ALL! So I was referred to the OB. The appointment went well and she told me that I can continue care with my midwife and I am low risk, however because of the Group B-strep, I need to deliver at the hospital and not the birthing center.

Anyway, onto the picture taken by my personal photographer, Natalie.

When We're Helping We're Happy!

Ok, so I have been making a lot of cards and gifts to get ready for the holiday season and I set up a table in my dining room and people from the base and have been "shopping". I've done pretty well. Natalie has decided she wants all the cool stuff for herself and has been asking me how much so and so costs and then asks if she has enough money for it. I finally gave in and let her earn one of the handmade cards she's had her eye on. Then we had a family home evening about how helping out mom and dad is a good thing. I had to take some pictures because she was so proud of how hard she worked and she enjoyed herself too, not to mention that she is being the perfect slave to me! Here are pics of the kids helping with the laundry.

When we're helping, we're happy, And we sing as we go;
And we like to help mother, For we all love her so.
Tra la la la la la la, Tra la la la la la,
Tra la la la la la la, Tra la la la la la.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night

On Wednesday November 5th we went to the beach to celebrate bonfire night. It is more celebrated than Halloween. Below is a brief history of bonfire night, but basically it is a celebration of Guy Fawkes and his foiled attempt to blow up Parliament in 1605. Depending on who you talk to, it can be a celebration that he was foiled or that he had even had the guts to have attempted it. It's funny, the first bonfire night we celebrated here in the UK, I asked a neighbor what exactly it was we were celebrating and he said and I quote, "Well about 400 years ago a guy named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament, unfortunately he was unsuccessful." Name withheld to protect his identity.

Here are some pictures...

Our tiny little bonfire, more like a campfire. We didn't have a Guy to put on it though, but we did have fireworks. Unfortunately, my camera doesn't do fireworks all that well.
Robbie, enjoying the fireworks for the first time. Each attempt previously has resulted in cries of terror.
Natalie and her friend Jack
Natalie and Robbie

The following is from the website

For 400 years, bonfires have burned on November 5th to mark the failed Gunpowder Plot.

The tradition of Guy Fawkes-related bonfires actually began the very same year as the failed coup. The Plot was foiled in the night between the 4th and 5th of November 1605. Already on the 5th, agitated Londoners who knew little more than that their King had been saved, joyfully lit bonfires in thanksgiving. As years progressed, however, the ritual became more elaborate.

Soon, people began placing effigies onto bonfires, and fireworks were added to the celebrations. Effigies of Guy Fawkes, and sometimes those of the Pope, graced the pyres. Still today, some communities throw dummies of both Guy Fawkes and the Pope on the bonfire (and even those of a contemporary politician or two), although the gesture is seen by most as a quirky tradition, rather than an expression of hostility towards the Pope.

Preparations for Bonfire Night celebrations include making a dummy of Guy Fawkes, which is called "the Guy". Some children even keep up an old tradition of walking in the streets, carrying "the Guy" they have just made, and beg passersby for "a penny for the Guy." The kids use the money to buy fireworks for the evening festivities.

On the night itself, Guy is placed on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight; and fireworks displays fill the sky.

The extent of the celebrations and the size of the bonfire varies from one community to the next. Lewes, in the South East of England, is famous for its Bonfire Night festivities and consistently attracts thousands of people each year to participate.

Bonfire Night is not only celebrated in Britain. The tradition crossed the oceans and established itself in the British colonies during the centuries. It was actively celebrated in New England as "Pope Day" as late as the 18th century. Today, November 5th bonfires still light up in far out places like New Zealand and Newfoundland in Canada.

Friday, 31 October 2008

We know where we are going!

Shawn talked to the detailer on Wednesday and was offered shore duty in Norfolk Virginia and he accepted it, so sometime this summer we will be relocating back to the US. We are looking forward to being closer to family so we are happy.

We prayed for a long time that we would be given the orders that would be the best for our family but never even considered that Shawn would have the possibility of shore duty in the US, so we definitely know Heavenly Father had a hand in sending our family back to the US and keeping us together as a family.

Another peek inside

Not the clearest picture. The ultrasound machine on the base is really old and the resolution isn't great, but if you look closely you can see the spine and the profile of the face.

And the best news, the baby was more cooperative this time around and showed us the parts. Maybe the Coke I drank an hour before helped, haha. Anyway it's another........

Penelope Esther Spain

A view from the outside in case you are interested. 20 weeks and 6 days.

Edited to answer a question in the comments:

Well, for the name, we were pretty set on using Esther for the middle name as it is a family name and it fits with Natalie's middle name Ruth. We want to have the tradition of using names from the Old Testament for a middle name too (I know Edwin, Robbie's middle name, is not found in the OT but he's named after all the men on both sides of the family so being the 1st son we wanted to make sure we had all the bases covered). Anyway, we were trying to find a name that balanced out the mature sound of Esther to cute it up a little bit so we were going through the baby name book and when we came to Penelope, Shawn and I were both like, YES, that's her name. We had the name picked out about 8 weeks ago as well as a boy back up and I just didn't feel like the boy name fit THIS baby, we felt much more comfortable with our girl choice. Maybe it was the spirit or just a gut feeling. But Penelope is a name we just knew was supposed to be the name if it was a girl.

My little Daleks

So I don't think I need to remind anyone of my kid's obsession with Dr. Who. It's what we finally were able to bribe Robbie with to get him to potty train; if he stays dry, he can watch Dr. Who. He also goes to sleep nearly every night with his (that Natalie got for her birthday but has yet to get a chance to play with) toy Dalek. So he decided he wanted to be a Dalek for Halloween. I went all over the place trying to find a store bought costume (I'd seen them previously) and after 5 stores I gave up and decided to make my own. The first picture is Robbie in the costume and the next is Natalie in the costume (she will actually be Dora the Explorer for Halloween). The last picture is what a Dalek really looks like. So how did I do? For the head, it's a knit hat with plastic cups sewn on and a blue dot for the "eye", the body is just fabric with fusable interfacing, drawn on with a sharpie and black felt spots. I had to use stuff I already had on hand so I improvised. I kinda made up that pattern as I went along and when I went to try it on Robbie for the first time, I realized I forgot to add an opening in the back so he could actually get it over his head so I had to cut down the back. A "duh" moment for sure!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

My latest creations

So I've been really busy getting ready for the Christmas season. I've been stamping away and thought I'd share some of my latest work with you.

These cards are some that I am doing for some friends. One ordered 40 exactly like this and the other ordered 50 using Baja Breeze and Whisper White instead of the Old Olive and Very Vanilla.
I'm thinking of doing a similar style for our cards to family, depending on how our photo session goes on Saturday. The picture comes out of the card with the idea that you can hang it on the tree as an ornament.
The colors are Basic Black, Old Olive, Very Vanilla and the Ski Slope DS Paper. The stamp set is "Many Merry Messages".

These are some cards I'm selling at some craft fairs. Card stock and Paper is Kiwi Kiss, Chocolate Chip, Watercolor Paper, and DS Paper (I don't remember right now which one). Ink is Jet Black Staz-On with Kiwi Kiss, Baja Breeze, Chocolate Chip, So Saffron, Versa Marker. Stamp sets are "Holy Triptych" and "Holidays and Wishes". Accessories are aqua painters, Kiwi Kiss/Very Vanilla double sided satin ribbon and Iridescent Ice embossing powder. I made 2 sets of 5 cards. If they don't sell, some of you may be seeing these again as I will be sending them myself!

These are Natural Travertine Marble tiles bought at a DIY store that I've stamped on, baked in the oven and sealed to turn into a set of 4 coasters. Below that is a larger tile that can be a table mat or a hot pad. The stamp set is a retired set "Peaceful Wishes" and I used craft ink in Old Olive and Chocolate Chip.

The picture didn't turn out so well on this one but you can still get the general idea. Card stock is Elegant Eggplant, Handsome Hunter and Brushed Gold. Ink is Gold Metallic and accessories are Gold embossing powder and Elegant Eggplant 1/4" grosgrain ribbon. Stamp sets are "Holy Triptych" and "Many Merry Messages" and the wheel is "So Swirly". These I did in 2 sets of 5 cards, and again, if they don't sell, I'll be sending them myself. They are lovely cards so I am happy about that.
This card was used as a sympathy card for a friend that lost her mother. I used the "Bella Toile" background stamp, "Holy Triptych" and "Sincere Salutations", inside I've used "God's Blessings". Card stock is Blush Blossom, Mellow Moss and Watercolor paper. Ink is Jet Black Staz-On, Blush Blossom, Mellow Moss, Close to Cocoa and Versa Marker. Accessories are aqua painters, Iridescent Ice embossing powder (on the wings but can't really tell in the picture) and Mellow Moss taffeta ribbon.

I recently acquired 3 members to my Stampin' Up! team and I am thrilled to death. I thought I would show them my appreciation for them taking the chance to become a demo so I stamped them these cards. The stamp sets are "Flower Fancy" and our "Statement of the Heart". Card stock is Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, and Whisper White. Ink is Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, Pretty in Pink and Mellow Moss. Accessories are Mellow Moss taffeta ribbon and the Stamp-a-ma-jig. I really love the statement of the heart because it's not all about sales, but building relationship with others!

Isn't he precious?! He's made using punches and dies for the big shot and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Card stock is Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White and Pumpkin Pie. Punches are Curly Label Punch, Circle Scallop, 1/2" circle and 1/4" circle. Big Shot Dies are from the Birds and Blooms Sizzlets.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

This little baby is a stinker!

We had our 20 week ultrasound yesterday. We were all excited because we were really hoping to find out the sex. No such luck. Little legs crossed and tucked up under the bum. On the upside, everything was measuring fine and all looked well.
Here is the picture...

Saturday, 11 October 2008

New crafty things

Well, I've been stamping baby items for a while now to give as gifts and thought I would try my hand at selling them at the craft fairs I've been attending with my cards and other stamped items.

Each of the layette sets include a bodysuit, muslin spit up cloth, hat, and scratch mits. I've made a matching gift card for the 2 sets shown here, but I didn't think to take a picture of the car one and that is the one I happened to sell today.

I just bought assorted, plain white baby sets and stamped on them with Stampin' Up! craft (pigment) ink and heat set the ink with an iron to make it washable. To make the 2 sets shown and 2 bibs, only took me a half hour. It's inexpensive and quick to make but you would never know it from the end result.

I sold the car set with a greeting card today for 10 pounds ($17). One request I had was that I make some more gender neutral sets because a lot of people liked them and knew someone they needed a baby gift for, but they didn't know the gender. Another thing I think I will do next time as well, is to offer matching gift bag and tissue paper.

Supplies: Stamps - A Rose Is a Rose; Ink - Pixie Pink, Pink Passion, Green Galore, Glorious Green Craft Pads; White Baby Items

Supplies: Stamps - A Rose Is a Rose, Everything Baby; Ink - Pixie Pink, Pink Passion, Green Galore, Glorious Green Classic Pads; Card Stock - Whisper White, Green Galore, Pink Passion; Accessories - Crop-o-dile, Black Gingham Ribbon, Stampin' Dimensionals

Supplies: Stamps - By Land (retired); Ink - Real Red and Basic Black Craft Pads; White Baby Items

18 weeks

Not the most flattering angle, but that's what you get when you have your 5 year old take the picture. I'm 18 weeks and 1 day along now and I have LOST 30+ pounds since I found out I was pregnant. Not exactly the direction the scale is supposed to move when your pregnant, and I am trying to eat well and enough. I have been having a problem with my blood pressure being low, on Monday my midwife came to take blood and she also did my blood pressure and it was 100/50 so that explains the dizzy spells and headaches and general not feeling well. It does frustrate me however that the first thing people say to me is, "Wow, you've lost some weight, you look great!" Under other circumstances that might be a welcome compliment, but the fact that I've felt horrible and I am pregnant, I just wonder if it's worth it. I went and bought new maternity jeans because my previous ones were too big so I got ones that were adjustable and now they are big on me as well, even after going through the dryer.

Anyway, 20 week scan will be soon and I will post those when we get them. We can't wait to find out what we are having! So do you think it will be a Penelope Esther or Clayton Ezra? Leave a comment to cast your vote.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

wee wee in the toilet

So it's been looking like Robbie will be going to school in diapers. The boy just doesn't want to have anything to do with learning to use the toilet. He would be perfectly happy to sit in a wet and poopie diaper all day long and hates for me to change him and runs away from me anytime he sees me with a clean diaper in my hands.

Well, today at the CDC (child development center, or fancy speak for day care), his teachers told me he was dry all morning and went wee on the toilet not once but TWICE. So at 12:15 when I went to pick him up, he was still in the same pullup I put him in at 7:30 this morning!!! I was so excited for him and he was so proud of himself so I decided that we would carry on the rest of the day to see how it went. So he went again when we got home, and 2 more times. He has had one accident when we went to get Natalie from school, but I checked him at 3:00 and he was dry and at 3:30 when we got back to the house he was wet, but sat on the potty anyway, but at now 4:15 he is still dry and we will try potty time again in a few minutes. Let's just see what happens when it's time to poo though, that might be a little more tricky.

World Card Making Day

Saturday is World Card Making Day and Abi and I are collaborating our efforts and having a joint stamp camp and we are donating our profits to the Children's Hospice Precious Lives Appeal. We are each doing a few projects and for my project, I am giving two choices which uses the same template, which is inspired by stamper Carol Millay on Each card uses the Sizzix Big Shot machine with the SU! exclusive Top Note, Join the Cheer and Birds & Blooms dies. I've also used some glitter for some sparkle.


Stamp sets- Lovely As a Tree, Fall Flair (Hostess L.2)

Card stock- Always Artichoke, Bravo Burgundy, Chocolate Chip, Sahara Sand

Ink- Always Artichoke & Bravo Burgundy classic pads; Always Artichoke & Chocolate Chip S&W markers
Accessories- Always Artichoke 1/4" grosgrain ribbon, Dazzling Diamonds glitter, Big Shot & dies mentioned above

Stamp sets- Snow Burst
Card stock- Brocade Blue, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White, Sahara Sand
Ink- Brocade Blue classic pad
Accessories- Whisper White 1/4" grosgrain ribbon, Dazzling Diamonds glitter, Scallop Circle punch, 1 1/4" Circle punch, 1 3/8" Circle punch, Big Shot & dies mentioned above

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Happy Birthday Robbie

Another Birthday! I can't believe he used to be so small!
Now he's 3!
Rudely woken up by us singing Happy Birthday!
He was NOT impressed!
Until he realized we had a present...
Now he's getting into it!
Really impressed, we got him a "Ninky Nonk". For those of you who have no idea what that is, it's like a train on the children's show "In the Night Garden". His party, opening more gifts
Buzz Lightyear
Sam's helping open presents
He blew out the candle!