Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Never mind all my good intentions, I never did get my Christmas cards sent out. I usually make hand stamped cards and just didn't have it in me to do them this year. I did get a new digital program and this was my attempt so I thought I'd post it here and if you usually get a nice handmade card from me and you don't this year, it's nothing personal, no one is getting one :)

Monday, 7 September 2009

It's been a long time!

I don't think I can even begin to think about all the catching up I need to do on here, it's been a LONG time! I think a brief update is all I can manage for the moment.

I guess the biggest news is that we have moved halfway around the world. When I say we, I mean the kids and me. Shawn is still living it up in Cornwall. We bought our very first house in the middle of nowhere Virginia (aka Carrsville) and when Shawn is finally able to come and be back with us at the end of the month he will be working on the main Naval base in Norfolk. Carrsville is barely a blip on a map with a handful of houses a post office and an elementary school. Why did we decide to live outside of civilization, you ask? Let me tell you why... We wanted a great big house on more than an acre of land in a community with a great elementary school. I think we've ticked all those boxes with the house we've found. The sacrifice we've made is Shawn's commute time to the base.

The house is great (click here for pics from when the sellers lived here). We have 2500 square feet on 1.2 acres. Carrsville Elementary has a 9/10 great schools rating and has a reputation as one of the best elementary schools in the state. The house has a lot of character too. It was built in the 1920s (with a few additions added over the years) and also has an 1800 square foot "store" on the property that served a Daughtery's General Store in the late 19th century. My dad thinks I should knock it down and he fears the next major hurricane may actually save me the work. This was one of the selling points for the house for me and that would break my heart! Anyway, back to the house! When we were doing our prelim online house searches this one kept coming up and I kept brushing it off because I didn't like the kitchen. But I kept going back to it. Then one day I noticed something I hadn't noticed before... As I was looking at the pictures that were hanging on the walls, I saw a few that I recognized painted by artists that belong to my church. These are paintings that are pretty specific to Mormons too, lol. Then I realized that I must actually know the sellers because the house sits within the boundaries of the ward (congregation) we attended as newlyweds. So as any self respecting person would do I sent a message on facebook to some people on my friends list that could give me more info. As it turns out, I did know the sellers and because of that Shawn and I agreed for me to take a trip to the states to view the house in person and here we are.

I moved into the house about a month ago and had been living on air mattresses and borrowed furniture until last week when we got our household goods. I have managed to get the living room, dining room, kitchen and kids rooms in a good place and now have to sort out the den, playroom, guest room, master bedroom and garage.

Once I get everything the way I want it I'll post the after pictures. And one of these days I also take some pictures (or upload from my camera).

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Sunday Pictures

Clay at just over 3 months old

Robbie absolutely HAS to wear a tie on Sunday. We asked him if he wanted to take it off when we got home from church and he said, "I can't it's still Sunday!" Do you think it will be that easy to get him in a tie when he's 12? It's a shame he's at an age where he won't cooperate for pictures and always has to pull a face.
Natalie is in high spirits in spite of her trip to the ER last night. She was goofing off in the bath and fell on the spiky holder for the shower sprayer and got a 1 in. deep puncture wound in her thigh. No stitches which I thought were inevitable, but steri-strips instead and I was quite surprised at how little it actually bled.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Random pictures (yet again)

What happens when dad does the laundry and gets the kids dressed, Robbie ended up wearing Clayton's shirt (size 3-6 month). When I called him on it, he said, "I was wondering why it was so hard to get over his head."
Clayton and some tummy time
Jaden's last day of school, I'm gonna miss him and his family!
Clayton sitting up on the couch
Robbie being put to work helping to make dinner. When he was finished peeling this carrot, there was practically nothing left!
Clayton borrowing a friend's bumbo seat and he fell asleep.

Trip to Virginia

I did manage to squeeze in some fun on my trip to Virginia. It was great to see my sister Jane again and to also catch up with my friend Jessica and her sweet little family.

A self portrait of Janie
Pictures of a luau we went to that was a fundraiser for the Pacific Islanders Group. Janie really enjoyed this and I think she secretly wishes she was Samoan!

Jane, Jessica and me with the kids
Jessica, Clayton and I at Jessica's mom's house for dinner

We are officially soon to be homeowners!

Well the house hunt is over. I can really tell that Heavenly Father had a hand in bringing this house to us. Things worked out so easily that I can think of no other explanation. We contacted a realtor a while back and we were just going to narrow down some choices from homes we liked online to view when I got back to the US at the end of July. Well I found a house that I fell in love with and felt an urgency to go back to the US to see it. I mean, I was panicked that someone else was going to buy it before we had a chance to see it. So I checked online to see what airline tickets were going to cost us. I swear, we were taking a huge risk, but I feel we were blessed to be able to find a way for Clayton and I to go without going into debt. Our flight to the states was manageable, my sister drove down from Ohio to keep me company so I didn't have to pay for a rental car (I just covered her expenses), and my friend Jessica insisted we stay with her so no hotel to pay for! Everything just fell into place so easily. The only glitch we had on the whole trip was that Jane accidentally grabbed the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, but we got that easily sorted!

We set out to view 4 properties and after we saw the second one (the whole reason I flew 6000+ miles to the US) I decided there was really no need to see anymore. It was reconfirmed to me that THIS was the house. We are so excited. We made an offer and it was accepted and we are just waiting for closing on July 30th and the kids and I will move in the 3rd week of August. The best part is that we are friends with the sellers and I trust them. I do hope they still like us after all this is over! We will be going to church with them and they have lived in and loved this house and made it their home for 11 years. It seems like a great place to raise a family and the school is one of the top elementary schools in the state. It's in the village of Carrsville and it sits on just more than an acre of flat land, perfect for the kids to play and Shawn to have his garden, chickens and a couple of sheep or goats (not really my idea of fun, but gotta let have Shawn have SOMETHING!).

Here are the pictures...
From the front

The entry hall
The living room
The dining room
The kitchen. I had big plans for the kitchen, but had a wake up call as to what we can actually really afford so we may just have to settle for new counter tops and a new fridge. The floors are about a year old and if we put in new cabinets, they would be inferior in quality to what is in there, a few coats of paint may be all that is really needed to freshen up the room.
This is the den or family room and it is currently being used as a bedroom
The sun room, we'll probably put the kids toys in here for a playroom
Downstairs bedroom, we'll use this as a spare room/craft room
Upstairs bathroom (there is also a full bath downstairs)
Master bedroom
Nursery for Clayton
Natalie and Robbie's room
This may look like a dangerous eyesore, but this was one of the selling points on the property for me. I've always loved old things and I have always wanted to have something old that I could restore and this really excites me! From what we were told, this is the oldest standing commercial building in the southern part of Isle of Wight County. It was Daughtry's General Store in the late 1800s. It has 1800 square feet and has a lot of potential even though it has hurricane damage. We want to get it registered as a historical place and restore the exterior while at the same time making the inside a modern and livable dwelling. I'm thinking 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and an open plan living area with a kitchenette and big enough for me to have a spectacular stamp/scrapbooking classroom and studio. I am sure it is going to years down the road and it's going to cost A LOT of money, but in the end, I am sure it will be worth it.

Monday, 25 May 2009

these always make me cry...

Fun day out

We had it all planned out... Every so often, we get a magazine from Natalie's school outlining all the different things to do as a family here in Cornwall. On page 4 there was an advertisement for "Dr. Who Day" at Treasure Park. Perfect! The park isn't too far from home, parking and entry are FREE and the kids and Shawn are obsessed with Dr. Who and they were going to have Daleks and Cybermen and the Doctor and it was going to be great. I was so determined that it was going to be a fun day that I kept it all a secret from the kids until this morning in case something happened I wouldn't have two grumpy kids on my hands. The drive there was nice and the kids were excited.

Then we get there and there is a sign that read, "Due to unforeseen circumstances... Blah blah blah BLAH BLAH! Oh the shame!

There was a backup attraction of Sci-Fi and Superheros, but it WASN'T Dr. Who. We still had a fun time though and Natalie got to have her picture taken with Princess Leia and both kids had their picture taken with Spider Man (I'll have to scan that one because it's the one we had to pay for). We tried to get Robbie to pose with Darth Vader, but that wasn't going to happen. I was in heaven because it basically is a HUMONGOUS jewellery store. There was loads for the kids to do, but even though "entry" was free, most of the attractions were not and of course, the jewellery was all for sale. Oh, well we ate some yummy food, kids did a bouncy castle and a merry-go-round, we made our very own Cornish teddy bear, we painted ceramic animals and finished up by having some ice cream.

Natalie with Princess Leia
Shawn and Robbie with the time machine from Back to the Future (they also had James Bond's Ashton Martin from Goldfinger)
Robbie's penguin (that Shawn did most of the painting on while Robbie tried to eat the paintbrush)
Natalie's unicorn that she painted all by herself with NO help from anyone else
Clay's turtle that I painted
and lastly, Kernow, our Cornish teddy bear that we made all by ourselves.

Our garden

On Friday evening, we spent time cleaning up the garden and planting some flowers. Now, I know what you are thinking that it is silly to plant flowers 2 months before moving, but we enjoyed it, we still have 2 months we can enjoy the flowers, and having a clean and tidy garden area will make spending time outside more enjoyable. We had a lot of fun and the kids love to water and weed.
The front of our house.
One of my hanging baskets that I planted.
Our herb bed.
My favorite thing, fresh clean diapers hanging on the line. A must in our new house is a clothesline in the backyard. (ignore Robbie scratching his bum)

Blackmail photo :)

The other day, we bunked the kids' beds so now Robbie and Natalie share a room. I had a feeling the first couple of days would be an adjustment and we would have "slumber party syndrome" to deal with and I was right. The first night we put the kids in their room and in bed at 7:30 pm and I go in at almost 9:00 pm to investigate the giggling I heard. This is how I found Robbie...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Video of Clayton Giggles

Random Pictures

I've been such a slacker! It has taken me 2 weeks to get Clay's blessing on here and then there are all the other things I'm sure my mom wants to see :)

Not much is really going on here other than we finally got our orders to move to Virginia, we knew back in October we were going to VA, but the official paperwork finally came through this week so we can get the ball rolling and get organized for the move. I can't believe it's already time and even though 2 months feels like forever away, it will be here before I can blink! There is so much to do and I am terrified of going back to the states with 3 kids aged 5 and under by myself all the while Shawn gets to stay here an extra 2 months. Then once we get to the states, we need to find a minivan (for less than $10,000 so if anyone has one they'd like to sell us let me know!) and a house and register Natalie for school and beg a school to allow Robbie to attend preK. Kids and I ship out the end of July because my visa expires 3 August :) .

Yesterday we cleaned up our garden, it looks so pretty now. It seems silly though that we planted some flowers, but we can still enjoy them for a couple of months and our landlord will appreciate them when he moves back in after we leave. Then today we bunked the kids' beds in Natalie's room so the big kids are now sharing a room and we moved the pack & play into Robbie's old room so Clay can try to sleep on his own in his own room. He's been sleeping 8 hours at night now so we'll see if I can now get a better night sleep. It worked with the other 2 so here's to hoping!

Here are some random pictures from the last few weeks.

Last week I bought some fruit. I found the most beautiful, juiciest strawberries and they were HUGE. I just don't want to know what chemicals caused this to happen though because it just doesn't seem natural. Here is a comparison with a Royal Gala apple and a normal sized strawberry.
Another of Natalie's outfit choices. She does have shorts on and NO, I did NOT let her leave the house looking like this! The coat is still too big, but she got it as a hand-me-down from a friend she worships so she just HAD to wear it NOW.
Clayton's smile :)
Robbie's creepy face
Robbie took this picture of Shawn
And this picture of me
Robbie trying to hide from the camera
Natalie trying to hide from the camera
More smiles
See, it does get warm enough here to go swimming (ignore the mess in the background). Funny thing is, it's was only like 70 F and we were hot, we've gotten too used to the cooler weather here and we are going to be in BIG trouble dealing with a Virginia heat wave when we come stateside!