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.

First week back homeschooling originally posted September 11 2006

Fraser and Kirsty officially started homeschool last week (see first day of homeschool photos). We've started them with Jolly Phonics, Kirsty loves it and wants to do extra, Fraser's happy but needs lots of breaks. Kirsty loves writing and colouring while Fraser is passionate about cutting and gluing.

Cameron is also very enthusiastic about his schooling. This year we're doing a different subject each day in addition to the daily Maths, English and Bible study.

Mondays: History
Tuesdays: Science
Wednesday: Music and Art (assisted by our friend Rowena who is a music teacher)
Thursday: Geography
Friday: Cyprus day where we'll take trips learning more about the island, it's people and (hopefully) the language.

Every morning (except when he's on day-shift) Paul takes the children (minus Maisie) for half an hour of exercise. I enjoy this time too, it's lovely and quiet after the hustle and bustle of breakfast, and allows me to take stock and prepare for the day ahead. I also get to spend time with Maisie on her own before her morning nap.

Last Friday we went to the old port area of Limassol, where we found a weather observing compound. We also saw lots of Cyprus cats and had our picnic by the sea then finished with an ice cream at a café.

The children's clubs and groups start up this week, they all go to swimming lessons on a Saturday morning, Cameron has youth club on Wednesday afternoon and he's thinking of trying hockey on Tuesday evening and perhaps golf Monday afternoon. He occasionally volunteers at the cat sanctuary, he's mad about cats.

Kirsty attends Ballet lessons on a Thursday afternoon, which she loves, in a couple of months she'll start Rainbows. Fraser doesn't do anything yet (groups wise) but when he turns five he fancies football and maybe St Johns Ambulance.

When Paul's not working I take Maisie to Parent and Baby group, or Musical Tots. I also go to a Wednesday morning ladies bible study. This week we're starting a Beth Moore course called "Believing in God", which I'm really looking forward to, however I can't attend every session.

Paul is such a blessing, he's so supportive and is brilliant with the children. He's returned to regular squash and badminton and has also volunteered as a youth worker at the base youth clubs (initial training course tomorrow afternoon).

Heather xx.

Here are some photos of the children and photos of Cameron, with his friend Jake, at the Cat Sanctuary this afternoon.

Our day at the water park originally posted August 24 2006

More photos. I'm sure the novelty will wear off and i won't be posting so frequently.

Yesterday we went to the waterpark, great way to keep cool in this hot and humid weather. We all had a great time. Cameron said his favourite bit was the water bubble and the slides. Fraser loved the slides, Kirsty liked going on the slide with Daddy best. Maisie loved crawling about in the water, quite often she would crawl out of her depth, this didn't phase her in the slightest. Paul's favourite was going down the slide with Kirsty. Me I liked the ride round the lazy river except when Paul steered us under every waterfall.

Today has been a bit quieter, Paul's been working all day (7am to 7pm) then went playing badminton. At 6pm it became cool enough for the children and I to go outside and play in the garden. The rest of the day we've been playing hospitals and watching the "Rescuers down under".

Our trip to Kyrenia originally posted August 22 2006

Here are some photos of our holiday in Kyrenia (Girne) last week.

We were supposed to be staying in Famagusta but arrived to find they had double booked us. We had a swim in their pool then dinner before driving on to Kyrenia. That was some journey, we were following our friend's (Jason, Rowena and their 2 girls Cerys & Iona). The road, if you could call it that, was single track with huge potholes, sometimes the road disappeared and it was just a dirt track.

Kyrenia is in the Northern part of Cyprus and comes under Turkish rule, it's a very picturesque town. We were staying in a villa at Ambelia Village hotel, it was within walking distance of Bellapais Abbey.

We went into to the town one evening, walked around the castle and had dinner by the harbour.

The children had great fun in the pool, once they were in bed we (the adults) played Rummycub or cards.

Coming back to the South we got a little lost, it's not sign posted for the border crossing. We went into Nicosia (Lefkosia) first, then realised the crossing is on the outskirts of the city.

We're hoping to go back again in October when my parents come to visit.

First ever blog originally posted August 22 2006

I'm aware that I'm not the best at keeping in touch with friends and family back home, even worse at sending photos (my Mum will vouch for that). Also I'd like this to be a digital diary of our family life for the years ahead

New Blog site

After waiting for about a month for our other blog site ( to be unlocked, I've decided to create a new one and copy over the posts.
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