Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yesterday Matthew and I went to visit my parents and also my sister, Sally. It's lovely to be able to drive over for the day - it's four hours there and back but that's a good opportunity to sing my heart out without anybody else having to suffer (Matthew sleeps most of the way!). Dad and Lis are getting set up for a small person being around and have bought a high chair and a little ride-on which Matthew loved (he is crawling away from it and a fair speed but that's because the camera is more interesting!).

It felt like summer should do to, just being able to sit outside and enjoy the garden and we even needed suncream!

This photo is especially for Emma and Dan who sent Matthew some All-Black shoes for his birthday - who knows, maybe they're what got him walking!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Matthew and Skye

A video of the two of them playing - well Matthew is more wrestling - on the sofa!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Matthew's first steps

We're back!

I seem to have spent lots of time this year catching up on our blog. This time I have a very legitimate excuse for my lack of communication - not only no broadband or dial-up but no phone line for what seemed like a very long time! I'm assuming there was life before the internet but judging by the twitching and shakes in our household it was certainly long before our time. Anyway, now we are totally connected (and wireless, so Neil says I can update the blog sitting on the toilet on the second floor of our house - I don't think anybody's that desperate for our news!) and have a very good deal on international phone calls so nobody can escape!
So, what's happened in the Shepherd family...

Well, the biggest change is that we've moved from the quaint Pucklechurch into a rather large house in the centre of Bristol (there will be a video at some point, I promise Emma!). Although there's a lot less countryside around there are more people and I like having shops and other facilities I can walk to. Having said that, Neil can now walk to work so it's more feasible for me to have the car. One of the lovely little discoveries is the pohutakawa tree in one of the local gardens so every time we walk past I think of all our Kiwi friends and smile...

We're living with the lovely Phil, Mags and Skye Kelly which seems to be working out rather well and we're beginning to get settled and find our way around.
Highlights of this include finding all the back routes to avoid the rush hour (though not necessarily) traffic and sampling the various coffee shops and pubs; we have a rating system on our fridge for the various establishments though Phil and Neil seem to have the monopoly on the pubs!
I've been to a couple of parent and toddler groups (one has a waiting list!) which have been ok but different people go each week so it's not all that easy to get to know people but I know this takes time.
The house is great and we've named it 'The Ark' - partly because our children have three Noah's Arks between them and we have one large piece of artwork depicting it, partly because of the ridiculous amount of rain that fell in June (and thus far July too!) and at one point flowed through the porch but also because the drains got blocked and overflowed down the path and the toilets needed fixing on three occasions (the house doesn't sound that great now does least we're renting!) There's loads of space which is great because shipments have arrived from the US and NZ (ours took 21 WEEKS!!! having gone via Valencia and having been quoted 8-10 weeks) so there are boxes galore. There's also a cute little garden, just about the right size for two toddlers, and Matthew and Skye love it - they'd love it even more if it would stop raining...

Sharing life (highs and lows) with the people we've joined here in Bristol is continuing to be fun and it's been great to have friends to stay including the wonderful Mansergh family.

Outside of life in Bristol, I had a weekend with my Nan in Peterborough (I got a whole two nights of undisturbed sleep which has not happened for a very long time!) and we went up to Sheffield for the TOM weekend which was great as we got to catch up with lots of people and I shared my 30th birthday with some special friends (no photos as I was too busy chatting!). I'm feeling ok about this milestone, though have to agree with Debbie, there's something about saying I'm in my thirties and not my twenties...

Other headlines include the fact that Matthew is now independently walking! He's been walking holding our hands for a while but would drop straight to his knees whenever we let go. Well, last Thursday he walked straight out the bathroom
all by himself and did about ten steps! As Mags and I are whooping (well, more me than Mags) Matthew stands still with the look of "What's all the fuss about?"! He's so confident (when he thinks we're not looking!) I think he's been secretly walking for weeks!

There are a couple of movies to follow but here's a picture I've found proving the sun does shine in this country, albeit occasionally!

So that's about it. We're getting settled - again! One thing that has obviously helped this is the arrival of my Pride and Prejudice DVD - just need an uninterrupted six hour stretch to watch it...