Monday, 25 August 2008

Back in Cyprus, Aug 2008

We flew back on Sat 9th (6 hours delayed this time), it was Maisie’s 3rd birthday on Mon 11th we had a small birthday tea for ourselves and got the Nintendo Wii for Paul’s belated birthday, he wanted a drum kit but that’s on hold until we move to the UK.
It’s all go for the move now, we had our pre march out last week, just minutes before the man arrived Fraser thought it would be interesting to find out what Maisie would look like with hair full of liquid had soap. Our car gets shipped in just under 2 weeks, the removals come in 2 weeks and we leave in just over 4 weeks.
We’ve managed to get to the beach a couple of days and also to the waterpark.
We won’t miss the summer heat but we will miss all the wonderful friends we’ve made. Also I love the Cypriots attitude to family and children, having 4 children is regarded as a blessing, makes a change from hearing "4 children, you must be crazy."
I think the children are a bit unsettled at the moment with everything getting packed up round about them.
We’re planning to go to Theos Villas again once the removals have been. We had hoped to go to Israel, but it’s going to be too rushed, so hopefully we’ll go next year. It’s not really anymore expensive from the UK.
We’ve been looking into the Charlotte Mason home educating method and feel drawn to her philosophy. However the home educating during the next month will be a bit paired down, once the bulk of our stuff is shipped back to the UK.

I was sent this homeschool video from a homeschool forum I'm a member of, it made me giggle.

“Oh, the misconceptions and realities of homeschool life," from comedian (and homeschool dad) Tim Hawkins.

UK holiday July/August, a few days in Devon

On Monday 4th we headed south, on the way stopping at the Trafford Centre in Manchester and watched Wall-E at the cinema. We stayed overnight just South of Birmingham to break the journey.
The next day we eventually arrived at our hotel in Exeter, making an unscheduled de-tour via a farm in Ottery St Mary (Paul accidentally keyed in the wrong postcode in sat nav). After dropping off our luggage we went to the campsite Mum and Dad were staying at outside of Oakhampton.
Wed 6th Paul’s 40th birthday, we spent the day with Mum and Dad at the Eden project.
Devon seems a really nice part of the country, with plenty of rural areas featuring lots of very narrow roads and tall hedges. I think we’ll enjoy living there.

UK holiday July/August, week in Crieff

On Sat 26th we headed back to Crieff, seeing quite a bit of rain through the visit, but it didn’t stop the games of golf. The children played quite a bit with the children in the cul-de-sac. Trips included the Safari Park, the Falkirk Wheel, the Museum of Rural Life and into Perth to see “Kung Fu Panda” at the cinema. The boys also got in some golf and Kirsty went horse riding.
Ivan, Caroline, Zoe and Connor (Paul’s brother and family from the USA) were in Scotland at the same time and we got together on Sat 2nd at Corrieries, Stirling (at the foot of Wallace’s Monument) for Zoe’s 10th birthday, it was lovely to see them again.

UK holiday July, week in Lewis

On Wed 16th we flew back to the UK (3 hours delayed) overnighting in Manchester, and Harry & Mary’s before going to my parents up in the Isle of Lewis. The weather was mostly sunny so we managed to get out and about quite a bit, spending most days with Stu, Angela, Helen, Annie, Shonnie & Hector (my brother and family). The children love getting together with their cousins. We went for a walk in the castle grounds, visited beaches, play parks, and had days out in Ness and at the black houses in Gearrannan where you can now holiday in the cottages.

July 2008

On Wed 2nd Cameron went for his first scuba diving lesson at Cydive in Paphos. Initially they were taken to the classroom and told all the safety regulations and how to use the equipment. They all looked a bit nervous after this. Then it was wet suit on and straight into the sea (shallow water) with their equipment to practise equalising their air space, using their regulator, hand signals, inflating and deflating their jackets, sharing someone’s tank in case yours failed, retrieving your regulator if it came out your mouth. The equipment looked really heavy not only do the have to carry the compressed air tank, they have weight belts too. Once they were confident enough with the gear it was out to the open sea, they dived to 5 metres for 20 minutes.
Cameron said “walking on the bottom was really rocky, with lots of seaweed I saw a mixture of different coloured fish, and they were all about the same size. It was scary and fun.”
We said goodbye again as more friends moved away from Cyprus.

Lastly we gave the children an old broken DVD player which they had days of fun taking apart.

June 2008

At the beginning of the month we stayed at Theos Villas for a couple of nights, in the far west of the Island. We always enjoy ourselves there, out in the middle of nowhere just swimming, reading, playing games & sleeping,

Towards the end of the month we decided to look after the crèche hamsters, Bubble and Squeak for a weekend. The children loved having them, but Kirsty and Maisie didn’t like holding them, finding their feet too sharp. They were quite cute but managed to chew through our telephone wire.

One of the days while Paul was at work and the children were helping me with the dinner Maisie was very keen to join in so I asked her to wash the broccoli. I turned round to find her squirting liquid hand soap on the broccoli and making it nice and bubbly.

I finished the last module of my leadership qualification in Guiding and became a fully qualified Guide Leader.

May 2008

We’ve been studying ancient Rome, below are some photos of our Roman creations.

April 2008

A time for firsts, with Fraser trying his hand at go-karting while Maisie rode a horse. Both of them had a good time.
At the end of the month I went for a Guide leader training weekend in Troodos(for all the leaders in BGIFC Cyprus), a good time was had by all.

March 2008

We found out we were moving to Devon at the end of September.

Maisie has started joining in at our family worship time her prayer usually goes “Dear Lord pray Fraser be happy, Kirsty be happy, Cameron be happy, Daddy be happy and Mummy be happy Jesus sake Amen.” It’s so cute.

February 2008

At the last minute Mum decided to come and visit (with a little encouragement from Kirsty). One of the days we went to the Camel Park outside Larnaca, Kirsty wanted a ride on a camel and wanted Mum to go with her, Mum was terrified, ah........ the things you do for grandchildren.

January 2008

Harry and Marry arrived in Cyprus on Cameron’s birthday (3rd) we had a wee birthday tea for him the next day. During the holiday in-between playing golf relaxing and reading, Harry and Mary took each of the children on their own day out followed by tea at McDonalds. It was a very enjoyable time. One of the best days was a walk to the Caledonian Falls followed by a picnic on the beach. Harry celebrated his 64th birthday while he was here,.........any excuse for cake.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Round up of 2007

At the beginning of the year Paul’s Mum and Dad (Harry and Mary) came out to Cyprus for a month, which we really enjoyed, Paul even managed a couple of games of golf and we had a BBQ on the beach. They looked after the children for a couple of nights and we went to a lovely and peaceful little village in the Troodos Mountains called Lofu.

February brought sledding in Troodos with the children, one minute wearing shorts then 90 minutes later switching to full winter gear in the Troodos Mountains. Also Paul became a Christian in February praise God!

In March we attended a Christian course called Ancient Paths which was very rewarding. At the end of the month Mum came out with my niece Annie for a week, the children had fun going to the park and beach, Cameron managed to have a go at kayaking.

During the half term holiday we visited a donkey sanctuary and found a donkey named "Arbuckle" (named after Paul by work friends of ours).

As part of our home education we received by post a butterfly kit - all 5 arrived alive and the whole family enjoyed watching then grow, turn into chrysalises then hatch. Finally we released them into the wild, which was happy and sad, the children had become quite attached to them.
Fraser has started Soccer school; he really enjoys it, though it means getting him to the football pitch for 8am on a Saturday morning.

Kirsty and I started Rainbows (junior Brownies), Kirsty as a Rainbow me as a Guider.
The Red Arrows come out to Akrotiri twice a year for training, this year we went down to meet them.

At the end of May we took a trip to the USA, mostly to go and visit Paul's brother Ivan and family (Caroline, Zoe and Connor) who live in Indiana. We hadn't seen them since 2004 and they had never seen Maisie. First we spent a couple of days in New York and did the tourist bit, visited the famous landmarks, even had a bash at driving through the City. Next we drove up to Niagara Falls (stunning).

Then to Ivan’s house in Columbus, Indiana.
One evening after being there a couple of days we glanced out into the garden and there was Harry and Mary sitting on the swings, we couldn't believe it, what a brilliant surprise, making it the Arbuckle dozen (6 Cyprus, 4 USA and 2 Crieff).
We went on boat trips, swimming, visited The Indianapolis Children's Museum, ate lots of ice cream and had a BBQ by the lake in Brown County. Harry, Mary, Paul and Ivan managed to get a game of golf in, just like the good old days. The holiday ended all too soon, on the way back to JFK airport we visited the Creation Museum Kentucky.
We really struggled with jet lag when we came back. By the time we got back to Cyprus the temperature had climbed dramatically (40C+) so we filled the pool straight away.

At the beginning of July Kirsty made her Rainbow Promise.

Mid July the children and I went back to Scotland for 5 weeks. Cameron and Fraser were looking forward to the rain. The children were very well behaved on the plane, actually for the whole holiday; Cameron was such a good help. We stayed with Harry and Mary for a couple of nights then on to Lewis just in time for the arrival of Hector my new nephew, and a few day’s later Maisie turned two. My brother Stuart and his family Angela, Helen, Annie, Shonnie and Hector live just a few streets from Mum and Dad which gave lots of opportunities for the children to play with their cousins.

After Lewis we then went on to Aberdeen and stayed with friends for a couple of nights, then back to Harry and Mary in Crieff, where Harry took Cameron and Fraser out for a short game of golf. Also we fitted in Blair Drummond Safari Park and lastly went through to Bo'ness to visit friends.

During the summer quite a lot of our friends left Cyprus, going as far a field as Germany, Nepal and Australia (did we say something?). The children found it particularly hard as their best friends, a family with an 11 year old boy and girl boy twins the same age as Fraser & Kirsty living directly across the road from us, moved to Nepal.
A couple of weeks after I came back from Scotland we spent a few days at a villa in Latchi (Northwest Cyprus), it was completely isolated and had it's own pool, it was very relaxing, we had a great time.

We had our annual home-education inspection/check; yet again the children were falling over themselves to show him what they had been doing. The children are still having swimming lessons and have discovered Gyotaku (fish-rubbing) and making mosaics. Recently Fraser and Kirsty celebrated their 6th birthday party at the bowling alley. Fraser thinks being seven will be a cool age, Kirsty thinks being a teenager will be better.

I suggested it would be a good idea to make a history timeline on the upstairs hall wall, it’s now expanded from the hall right down the length of the staircase. Cameron still plays golf and also likes squash, Lego and anything to do with the Romans. Fraser likes mostly everything Cameron shows an interest in and should be starting Beavers (junior cubs) after Christmas. Kirsty loves playing at being a "teenager that sometimes wears trousers" (her words not ours) and horse riding. Maisie now attends crèche one day a week, she loves animals especially dogs, her "goggies" (2 cuddly toy dogs) go everywhere with her. She's now playing imaginary games and her speech is coming on with favourite words being Norsy (Horse) and Bincess (Princess).

I’ve started going to Aqua-fit, once or twice a week and Paul plays squash as often as he can. Paul and I attend a Bible study every Tuesday evening in Limassol, which is great. At the moment we’re studying 1 Samuel.

This year Paul is working a dayshift this Christmas (can’t complain as he’s had the last 2 off) but we've been invited to friends for Christmas dinner.

In 2008, firstly we’re all looking forward to Paul’s parents arriving and Cameron’s 10th birthday (both on the 3rd January). We’ll more than likely be moving back to the UK so another busy year lies ahead. I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas and New Year, best wishes for 2008.

May the God of peace Himself give you peace always. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

The rest of 2006 including Mum & Dad's visit and my Baptism

October 2006
Mum and Dad came to stay for a fortnight, so we did all the touristy things. Also Mum and I were baptised in the Mediterranean Sea on October 8th. It was a lovely day, starting at ICF Church in Limassol, then going down to the beach with loads of friends from the base and church.

The following week took us to a villa in the North (the Occupied Area or the Turkish Republic of Cyprus depending on your point of view), placed west of Kyrenia, allowing visits to Kyrenia Castle, the harbour, Bellapais Abbey and Mount Saint Hilarion Castle. On another day out we drove right up to the Pan Handle (far eastern peninsula of Cyprus) seeing wild donkeys on the road. The last day was a visit St Barnabas Cathedral (archaeological dig ongoing) and the ancient ruins of Salamis where Paul (from the Bible) landed on his first journey (Acts 13).
The North gets more rain than the south so it's greener and has more dramatic scenery and is well worth a visit . . . however prepare for the higher number of mosquitoes (Paul had approx.50 new bites).

Towards the end of Mum and Dad’s holiday we went back home to the south side of the island and had a day trip to Pafos visiting the harbour, St Pauls Church and the Tomb of Kings. No holiday in Limassol is complete without a meal at Little Plates (Ta Piatakia). The children loved having their grandparents visiting and cherished the time together.

November 2006
Kirsty had her first horse ride and loved it, she's wary of cats and dogs but loves horses that are more than double her size. I haven't worked that one out yet.
Fraser and Kirsty turned 5.

December 2006
I can't really remember much about December. I know we had our friends Griff, Rowena, Cerys, Iona and Rowena's parents over for Christmas dinner . . . I have to confess though, Griff cooked most of the dinner.
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